Stephanie Unwin has recently been appointed chief executive officer for regional energy provider Horizon Power.
I'm delighted to join Horizon Power at what is a very exciting time for the energy industry.
Our industry is undergoing the most challenging transformation in its history right now.
This presents a unique opportunity for Horizon Power to position itself as a power provider of choice in Western Australia.
To give you a little insight into my background, I was born in New Zealand, but by the time I was four I had moved to the regional mining town of Paraburdoo in the Pilbara.
I then spent time in Tom Price and Karratha, before heading to Darwin, so remote regional towns are very dear to my heart.
I have spent a significant amount of time working in the energy sector in WA and at the forefront of renewable energy, including solar, wind farms, and community batteries.
This has given me industry insight and understanding of the particular challenges of providing electricity to remote geographical areas with small customer bases.
I'm excited about the new renewable energy technologies that are rapidly evolving globally and here at home.
I am confident that they will enable us to offer our customers more choice regarding how their power is supplied and how they will pay for it into the future.
I am acutely conscious of the importance of reliable and affordable power to regional economic development and the quality of life in regional towns.
While our regional customers may be remote geographically, the value of their contribution to the state's economy is enormous, particularly in the mining and agricultural sectors.
My current focus for the Goldfields Esperance region is on reducing the number of incidents on farms involving farm machinery colliding with poles and power lines.
As seeding gets underway for our Esperance and Hopetoun farmers, I hope that there will be a renewed focus on safety and a reduction in the number of incidents we have seen on farms over the past 12 months.
Any one of these incidents could have resulted in death or injury.
We will continue to work with our farmers and their workers to help increase awareness of the importance of safety around our assets and what to do in the event that you are operating agricultural equipment that comes into contact with overhead power lines.
We are working with the community to develop the future energy blueprint for Esperance, taking into consideration what the future energy mix might look like.
We are seeking to contract a relevant power supply load that will enable us to continue to deliver safety and reliable power, while incorporating increased rooftop solar.
Another exciting project in Esperance, that will ultimately also help us reduce the frequency of these incidents, is the installation of 14 new Micro Power Systems for customers on farms in Neridup, east of Esperance.
Work has begun on those installations and is scheduled to be completed by September.
This project demonstrates Horizon Power's innovative approach as an electricity utility and is being watched with great interest by other utilities across Australia.
Our strong regional presence is one of the things that sets us apart from other utilities, allowing us to build partnerships with our stakeholders, other government agencies and the private business sector.
We work closely with our shires to achieve the maximum value and best possible outcomes and we are always looking for opportunities to make a difference in our local communities.
To find out more about Horizon Power's plans for your region, you can visit our website at www.horizonpower.com.au