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Every power consumer in NSW to be impacted by Baird Government’s electricity network sale plan

Dec 18, 2014

The full privatisation of TransGrid, which operates the high-voltage transmission network throughout NSW, will impact on every electricity consumer in NSW, risking higher prices and reduced services, according to the Stop the Sell Off campaign.

The warning follows the NSW Liberal National Government’s release of the scoping study into their planned sale of electricity network businesses TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.

Stop the Sell Off campaign director Adam Kerslake said that the decision to sell a majority of both Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy also meant private operators would control the power supply to households in Sydney, the Hunter, Illawarra, Blue Mountains and Central Coast.

“The decision to hand control of the NSW electricity network to private, profit-driven owners, means every power consumer in NSW — including those in regional areas — will be impacted by this sell off,” Mr Kerslake said.

“TransGrid’s high-voltage transmission network is the backbone of the electricity network, operating statewide, meaning no consumer will escape the impact of potential price increases or service reductions as the new owner seeks to maximise profits.

“Selling a majority of both Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy also means the public lose control over the running of these businesses, removing their accountability to the people of NSW.

“Just last month the Federal Government’s energy regulator found that South Australia, where the electricity network is privately owned, has the highest power prices in Australia, blowing a hole in the Baird Government’s myth that privatisation is good for consumers.”

Mr Kerslake said the sell off was being driven by ideology, with recent economic research revealing the sale will put the state’s credit rating at risk in the medium to long term, and would also damage the budget through the loss of more than $1 billion every year.

“The people of NSW overwhelmingly support the retention of the electricity network, understanding that public ownership is the best way to ensure reliable, safe, equitable electricity supplies in the decades ahead,” he said.

The Stop the Sell Off campaign said Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Andrew Constance also needed to accept that unless they win control of both houses of parliament, they have no mandate for the sale.

“Labor, the Greens, and the Shooters and Fishers have all unequivocally committed to blocking the power sale, meaning there is no way this privatisation can proceed if the Liberals and Nationals do not control the state’s upper house,” Mr Kerslake said.

“If the people of NSW vote to stop the power sell off in the upper house by supporting these parties, they’ll be making clear that the Liberal and National parties have no mandate for privatisation.”