Sydney's water users to bear new cost: Desalination plant electricity losses to be worn by Sydney households

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The O’Farrell Government will force new Sydney Desalination Plant electricity costs onto water users – in the latest move to fatten up the plant up for privatisation.

The NSW Labor Opposition today revealed Finance Minister Greg Pearce has written to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to change the rules governing the Sydney Desalination Plant.

For the first time, Sydney water users will be forced to cover the plant’s electricity trading losses.

"This is a sneaky manoeuvre by the O'Farrell Government to fatten up the Sydney Desalination Plant for private bidders at the expense of Sydney’s water users," Shadow Minister for Water, Luke Foley said today.

"IPART has released last week’s letter from Minister Pearce revealing his decision to change the rules of the Sydney Desalination Plant so water users will bear the brunt of electricity trading losses, rather than the desalination plant itself."

With the Sydney Desalination Plant being turned down, the plant will have surplus electricity that it will sell into the grid.

Under the O'Farrell Government's changes, any losses incurred between the purchase and sale price of electricity will now be worn by Sydney water customers.

"Water prices are already set to increase by 31 per cent and electricity prices are going through the roof - now the O'Farrell Government is adding to householders' misery," Mr Foley said.

"This is an underhanded move by the O'Farrell Government who have failed to mention they are changing the rules of the game for the Sydney Desalination Plant all week.

"The only reason we know about the new charges being forced upon water users is because the independent regulator has done the right thing and released Mr Pearce's letter.

"The O'Farrell Government is clearly acting in the interests of private consortia shortlisted as bidders for the Sydney Desalination Plant, at the expense of water users."