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FINAL BIDS NEAR AS NSW GOVERNMENT PREPARE TO SELL PUBLIC OUT

Jan 29, 2014

Publicly owned Bayswater and Liddell power generators in the Upper Hunter are nearing their privatisation death knell with final bid’s due by next Wednesday as a part of the O’Farrell Governments electricity privatisation agenda.

With only two bidders, AGL and much smaller ERM Power, the stage has been set for electricity consumers to again be the victims.

Stop the Sell Off Campaign Director, Adam Kerslake said today that a sale to either company will leave NSW electricity consumers worse off with less competition and higher prices.

“What we have is one of the largest electricity companies in the country and one of the smallest electricity companies in the country looking to buy strategically important power generators in the Upper Hunter.”

“If AGL are permitted to buy Macquarie Generation then what we will see is further market concentration which will result in less competition and higher electricity prices, exactly the opposite to what the Liberal and National Party have been peddling.” said Mr Kerslake.

“On the other hand ERM Power are so small that they will struggle to compete on the open market under the strain of massive debt which will lead not only to higher prices but also high risk exposure for the NSW public if they were to partially or completely fail.” said Mr Kerslake.

“You only need to look down the road to see what happened at Redbank, there is a big difference between being a power station owner and being a successful business.

“Meanwhile it is highly unlikely that the government will realise a decent return from the privatisation of Macquarie Generation with figures as low as $1 billion being thrown around when Macquarie Generations annual report values the business and their assets at more than $2 billion.” said Mr Kerslake.

“This is nothing more than a fire sale being driven by out of touch ideologues and merchant bankers that have vested interests and influence over the Premier and his government.”

“What is disgraceful is that the community have outright rejected electricity privatisation yet the government continue to sell the public out.

“More than 80% of the general public say that electricity should be owned by the public and run by the government to benefit everybody.”

“We are already seeing the private sector wind back generation capacity after EnergyAustralia announced that they will close the recently privatised Wallerawang power station near Lithgow.”

“And we all know what happens when there is a supply shortage – prices go up and consumers get screwed yet again.” Mr Kerslake said.