THE $227 million TransGrid project to upgrade the powerline network between Tenterfield and Lismore is set to be delayed after the company decided to again test the economic viability of the project.
As part of new national electricity rules TransGrid will conduct a Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T).
A spokesperson for TransGrid said the company had decided “independently” to conduct the test.
The RIT-T test replaced the old regulatory test in August last year and TransGrid said it will “involve a three -stage consultation process in which we assess the economic timing of the investment to optimise delivery.”
“The purpose of the RIT-T is to identify the transmission investment option which maximises net economy benefits and, where applicable, meets the relevant jurisdictional or Electricity Rule-based reliability standards,” the spokesperson said.
In the past members of the TransGrid Action Group (TAG) have raised concerns about the project, particularly that the original assessment made under the national electricity rules was inadequate.
TransGrid said the cost of the test will be covered by internal operating budget but it is likely conducting the RIT-T will delay the start date for the project.
Based on current forecasts TransGrid said the project is required by the summer of 2015.
Public consultations and submissions on the environmental assessment of the project closed in October last year. The spokesperson said that since that time TransGrid has been compiling an extensive submissions report, responding to all matters raised during this public display.
It is likely a revised start date will be included in its annual planning report, to be published in June this year.
The news that another test is required has angered some local residents who are directly affected by the project.
Gary Waldock and his wife Roslyn run a Santa Gertrudis stud on Geyers Road and the 215 kilometre powerline network is set to run right through the middle of their land.
Mr Waldock said he is still in the midst of negotiating with TransGrid over their compensation offer after refusing the first offer made in May 2011
“This has been going on for about two years now and it looks like it is another six or seven years away. When you’re 60-odd, six or seven years is a fair amount of time,” he said.
“I guess you could say we’ve come to a bit of a stalemate. It has put our entire life in limbo.”
The pair originally had their property on the market but say buyer interest has completely dropped off since news about the TransGrid project started.
“We’re still not sure when this is all going to happen,” Mr Waldock said
“We’re at the twilight years of our life. We wanted to enjoy things and they have completely taken that away.”