Blackout-hit SA to get $20m compensation


South Australians hit by blackouts in the wake of storms in December will receive about $20 million in compensation payments from the state's electricity operator.

SA Power Networks says the total payments will be almost triple the amount paid for any past weather event, dwarfing the previous high of $7 million related to storms in February 2014.

About half of the 155,000 affected customers will be compensated for the blackout, which was caused by fierce weather that tore down power lines across SA in late December.

The payments start at $100 for customers who lost power for more than 12 hours and climb to $605 for those affected for longer than 48 hours.

SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts says the estimated $20 million in guaranteed service level payments will go to about half of all customers who lost power.

"This clearly demonstrates the significant nature of the storm, the widespread damage and the number of customers affected," he said in a statement.

"Our preliminary figures also show that this single storm event is the worst we have had in terms of minutes of supply lost."

The December blackouts capped off a turbulent year for SA's power system, with storms in September causing a statewide outage that sparked debate nationwide.