An internal investigation found that thousands of dollars were diverted from the WA power system during the past six months to pay for expenses that did not meet the cash flow targets set by the state, the company that manages the system said.
A total of $14.6 million was diverted to repay debts in the first half of this financial year, up from $7.4 million the year before, according to the report from the state’s public utility commission (PUC).
The commission, in a scathing report released on Wednesday, said it found the diversion of cash was “pervasive” and said it would be “critical” for the power industry to do better.
The diversion was likely to have impacted on the reliability of the power network, which was in decline in the past year.
“The evidence demonstrates that there were a number of serious issues with the reliability and financial sustainability of the system,” commission chair Greg Hunt said.
“The diversion of funds was likely a factor in the decline in reliability and the reduction in power supply.
This diversion should be a cause for concern to all stakeholders.”
The PUC has called for the commission to investigate the matter and investigate whether the system should be privatised.
Commission chairman Greg Hunt says the diversion was “unacceptable” and it is crucial that the power system be privatized.
Wynnum Power was set up in the late 1980s and was privatised in 2013.
A spokesman for Wynnum said it was “aware of the matter” and had “committed to working with the commission”.
The spokesman said the company had implemented “a robust and transparent audit and compliance program to ensure compliance with all relevant state and federal laws”.
Wysiweg Power had also previously faced questions about the use of the cash, which had been paid out to a subsidiary of the company.
In December last year, the PUC ordered Wynnum to repay about $17.3 million to customers, after it was found the company was not doing enough to keep the money in the power grid.
It was also fined $3.8 million.
After the PPC investigation, Wynnum released a statement saying it had been working with regulators and the Public Service Commission to “improve the governance and governance processes” at the company and “rebuild trust” with customers.
But the PPU inquiry also found that the company used a number in the tens of thousands of thousands to pay back debts and had been able to cover debts that were not in its power supply system.
That has also led to calls for the PSC to investigate.
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