Basslink’s recently released annual financial report for the calendar year 2020 revealed its battle-scarred balance sheet after unsuccessful legal battles arising from the 2015/16 cable outage.
In December 2020 Basslink was forced to write off $30.8m which it claimed Hydro owed. The debt write-off related to whether the cable outage was a force majeure event. After taking six months to repair the cable, Hydro maintained because it was unavailable for half the year, the agreed monthly fee upon resumption should be reduced by the availability adjustment factor. Basslink argued the cable fault was an Act of God, a force majeure event, and hence the adjustment factor didn’t apply, and the full fee was payable. The arbitrator didn’t accept God was involved and found in Hydro’s favour.
The arbitrator was also needed to resolve other disputes between Basslink and Hydro and between Basslink and the State government in respect of the cable failure. In the latter case the arbitrator awarded the State government $46.7 m including costs and interest. In the former case Hydro was awarded $26m, with costs yet to be decided. Basslink has raised a provision account which suggest another $30.9m may become payable. That’s a total of $103.6m Basslink will have to pay Hydro and the government.