Labor welcomes regulator's decision to drive down power prices in NSW

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NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley today congratulated the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for standing up to the Baird Government and delivering a determination that will lower power prices for NSW electricity consumers.

Mr Foley and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle credited the work of the AER, led by Chair Paula Conboy, which will reduce power bills for NSW customers.

The AER determination will deliver an average bill reduction for customers of around $200 in 2015-16.

“I am the only Party Leader who has consistently backed the energy regulator’s work to lower electricity prices for households and business in NSW,” said Mr Foley.

“The Baird Government put immense pressure on the regulator to back off and allow higher charges in order to achieve a higher sale price when the electricity network is privatised.

“Mr Baird simply sought to fatten the pig for market day. I sought lower power prices for the people of NSW.”

Mr Foley also said it was now up to the Premier to give a guarantee the determination by the AER will be binding on any future owners of the electricity distribution and transmission network.

“These determinations relate to the legal entities Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and Transgrid from 1 July 2015 until 2019,” said Mr Foley.

“I call on the Premier to guarantee that any future owner or operator of the network will be bound by this determination to cut bills for customers.

“The privatisation legislation must ensure that a private owner is bound by the terms of the determination.”

Mr Foley also said that this determination will lead to a significantly reduced sale price for the state’s electricity assets.

“It stands to reason that if the companies are receiving 30 per cent less revenue and the return on the asset is also reduced, then the businesses are worth less,” he said.

“The government must tell the people of NSW what their reserve price is and which promised infrastructure projects will be jettisoned if the privatisation does not deliver the promised $20 billion return,” he added.

Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Adam Searle said it was now up to the companies to implement the savings through smarter business practices, savings and efficiencies.

“The companies should be focussed on finding savings and efficiencies – not just taking the easy option of sacking staff,” Mr Searle said.

“The AER has determined the total revenue for the businesses, not issued a directive to cut jobs and services. We call on the businesses and the unions to work to achieve fair as well as productive outcomes.”