A lawyers' picnic looms over power networks

The Australian Energy Regulator's proposed slashing of power distributors' budgets has left it between a rock and a hard place.

It may seem from the torrent of coverage of the electricity networks over the past 4-5 years that, in the court of public opinion, nothing is more important than the charges they levy. But appearances are deceptive. Above and beyond this is the safety issue; industry insiders know the community has zero tolerance for failures here.

Close reading of the hundreds of pages of responses to the latest round of Australian Energy Regulator budget reviews for four distribution service providers shows they are throwing the spotlight on safety in protesting against the decisions.

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