Media enquiries lead to long overdue payment

Media enquiries lead to long overdue payment

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A dispute between the City of Gosnells and Western Power has been resolved after inquiries by Examiner Newspapers yielded an immediate response.

At last night’s council meeting, Gosnells council went against officer’s advice and elected to pursue $24,438.50 owed to them by Western Power.

The issue dates back to 2017 when Main Roads WA, in the process of removing the level crossing on Nicholson Road in Canning Vale, discovered that gas and power lines had been laid through one of the city’s stormwater drainage pipes.

At a site meeting between the city, Main Roads, ATCO Gas and Western Power, a verbal agreement was made that Main Roads would repair the pipe and invoice the city for the cost, with the city, ATCO Gas and Western Power subsequently splitting the bill.

The drain was repaired in 2018, with the bill from Main Roads coming to $73,315,50.

The city sent invoices to Western Power and ATCO Gas, with ATCO paying their $24,438.50 on April 4 2019.

Western Power’s money never arrived, and in November 2019 the energy infrastructure provider informed the city it did not accept liability for damage to the pipe.

That remained the case on Tuesday when the council voted to pursue the debt, rather than follow the officer’s advice and write off the debt, with Mettam Legal advising the city that it would be difficult to pursue as it was based on a verbal agreement and legal action would likely cost more than the amount pursued.

On Wednesday, Examiner Newspapers sent questions regarding the dispute to Western Power, and the subsequent response, after three years of refusing to pay, was surprising to say the least.

“Western Power has investigated this issue and found that the City of Gosnells had lodged a liability claim, as such the claim for reimbursement was rejected as the loss or damage was not caused by our negligence,” a spokesperson said.

“However, acting in good faith, Western Power will pay the City of Gosnells the amount invoiced.”