After Callide C debacle, CS Energy botches the paperwork

CS Energy has blamed a historical oversight that led to it being fined $67,000 for running the Callide C power station without approvals.

Oct 20, 2023, updated Oct 20, 2023
The Callide power station in central Queensland (photo: CS Energy)

The Callide power station in central Queensland (photo: CS Energy)

The alleged breach was discovered as part of the Australian Energy Regulator’s ongoing investigation into the power system event involving the trip of multiple generators and high voltage transmission lines in Queensland following an initial plant issue at the Callide C Power Station on 25 May 2021.

Callide C has been offline ever since and the AER was continuing its investigation of that event.

However, this alleged breach was distinct from that event.

It alleged that CS Energy breached Electricity Law by operating Callide C without being a registered participant or having an exemption from registration. It submitted the paperwork following the AER’s investigation.

The AER said it had to know what was happening in the grid and failures such as alleged with CS Energy reduced visibility and could cause operational issues for the energy market operator.

The AER is continuing its investigations into the 25 May 2021 power system event.

CS Energy said it had paid an infringement notice but the Mining and Energy Union expressed alarm that Callide C was operating without the required regulatory approval at the time of a dramatic explosion in May 2021.

MEU Queensland District Vice President Shane Brunker said the breach showed a concerning disregard for legal operating requirements.

“The 2021 Callide C explosion was a very serious event and it’s remarkable that no-one was killed,” said Mr Brunker.

“To discover that Callide was operating without the required approval at the time is extremely alarming.

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“It is inadequate to have this brushed off with a fine that will barely be noticed in CS Energy’s accounts.

“Workers are still rattled from the 2021 explosion and subsequent safety and operational failures. This will shake their confidence in site management even further.”

CS Energy chief executive Darren Busine said company took its responsibilities extremely seriously and had worked cooperatively with the Australian Energy Regulator to resolve the matter.

“Due to an apparent historical oversight, CS Energy did not hold the required exemption from registration as the operator of Callide C,” Busine said.

“We acted promptly to seek the required exemption as soon as the oversight was brought to our attention.

“We are unaware of any impact caused to consumers or other market participants as a consequence of us not holding the relevant exemption.”

The two Callide C generating are expected to return to service next year.


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