Energy Queensland claws back millions after IT cost scare

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Energy Queensland claws back millions after IT cost scare

Finds savings in large-scale IT overhaul.

Energy Queensland has clawed back millions on its large-scale digital enterprise building blocks (DEBBS) overhaul after coming close to a projected $9 million overspend.

In an annual review of the state’s energy sector released last week, the Queensland Audit Office said the $229 million project was on track for a four percent overspend in 2019-20.

“The new system project is... currently expected to cost four percent more than the $229 million approved by the Australian Energy Regulator,” it said [pdf] .

DEBBS will see Energy Queensland consolidate its digital platforms by 2023 to reduce duplication and improve efficiency, according to Energy Queensland’s latest annual report.

It has already resulted in an environment, health and safety management module in a new SAP system, as well as other core financial capabilities to support better reporting.

But a spokesperson told iTnews that since the audit was conducted the government-owned corporation has been able to reduce its costs.

“At the time the QAO was preparing this report, Energy Queensland’s DEBBS project was expected to overrun,” the spokesperson said.

“However, over the last financial year Energy Queensland has been able to bring costs back towards the budget envelope.”

The spokesperson added the “large project” was overhauling a number of systems across “assets and works management, procurement, unified GIS and design tools, and unified distribution management systems”.

The savings come as the state government continues its cost-cutting in response to the pandemic, with $3 billion expected to be redirected into the state’s coffers between 2020 and 2023.

Almost 100 non-essential new IT projects worth $92 million were paused in the second half of last year as part of the savings drive.

The energy audit also found the number of low-risk deficiencies at Energy Queensland had increased on 2018-19, though these were largely down to the projected DEBBS overspend.

“We found nine issues relating to Energy Queensland’s ongoing implementation of a new system,” the report said.

“These related to the need to secure financial data, implement strong password controls and ensure users have only the appropriate access to the system.”

Two high-risk issues relating to security of online payments – that have now been resolved by Energy Queensland – were also uncovered.

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