LIFE UNDER THE LIBERALS – HOUSEHOLDS OVERCHARGED MILLIONS BY PRIVATISED POWER COMPANY

-->

The Berejiklian Government’s claim that it is tackling the soaring cost of living has been hit with a new revelation that hundreds of thousands of Western Sydney residents have been overcharged at least $227 million by a newly-privatised electricity company.

An Australian Energy Regulator (AER) letter released by the NSW Labor Opposition has revealed that Endeavour Energy must pay back its customers – who are spread across the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, South Coast and Blue Mountains - millions of dollars in overcharges.

The AER writes that the company has “recovered more revenue under their price undertakings than what was permitted in the AER’s 2015 decisions [relating to the four year regulatory period].” Ausgrid is currently negotiating with the AER on how much it is expected to return to customers, the letter reveals.

And it’s still ongoing because the Berejiklian Government commenced court action fighting price cuts, thereby delaying any settlement that would have seen the money returned to customers.

The Liberal National Government began court action against the electricity regulator when the state owned the poles and wires – Ausgrid, Essential and Endeavour. It argued against the regulator’s mandated prices cuts in order to inflate the sale price.

Endeavour was sold to a Macquarie Group-led consortium in May 2017 for $7.6 billion.

The money raised from privatisation was promised to fund the Government’s infrastructure program but the reality is people are being asked to pay more tolls, higher electricity prices and much higher housing costs.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Electricity privatisation was sold to the public as the way to build a better state but all I can see ahead is more tolls and higher energy bills.

“The Liberals promised the public that their power bills wouldn’t go up and yet prices have risen on average by 20 per cent. Their election pledge wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

“This government has fought price cuts all the way in the courts and yet it pretends to care about the cost of living that is hurting families and small businesses. It is sheer hypocrisy.

“The Liberals keep on shifting the blame on others for the price hikes they must take responsibility for the fact that under them power bills are only going one way – up.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources & Energy Adam Searle

“On the Liberals’ watch, the big electricity companies like Ausgrid and Endeavour have overcharged households and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars. The Premier and her Energy Minister have been asleep at the wheel while this was happening, leaving it to Labor to reveal what is going on.

“The Berejiklian Government must ensure customers’ money is returned to them.”