Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Privatisation Update Number 3

- Wednesday, May 27, 2015

For the past two days the ETU has held our biennial conference in Wollongong with more than 100 ETU conference delegates – it was at our conference we found out that the Baird government intended to introduce legislation to allow the privatisation of TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy to the NSW Parliament. As a result I have returned to the office a day early to provide this update for members.

Yesterday the Government introduced legislation to the Legislative Assembly to permit the leasing on Transgrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy. At no time prior to this has the government or the companies involved sought to consult with workers who will be affected by this transaction or their unions.

Further the government have chosen to introduce this legislation even before the Upper House inquiry into the transaction has been handed down – this in my view demonstrates this government’s disregard for due process and consultation with workers and the people of NSW.

Last week unions tabled our job protections package with the parliamentary inquiry. These protections were based on precedence including the 2009 retail employment protections and 2012 generator protections – a copy of this was circulated to ETU members last week.

We have today written to the management of TransGrid, Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid seeking urgent consultation around job protections resulting from this major change to the businesses. We have also written to the NSW Treasurer seeking an urgent meeting to discuss this same matter.

During all previous privatisation transactions including electricity retail, generators and Sydney Ferries the employment protections package has been developed prior to legislation being voted on and the ETU expects the same respect and consultative process in relation to the poles and wires.

ETU members can access and read the legislation that the government has introduced to the parliament at the following links:

Electricity Network Assets (Authorised Transactions) Bill 2015

Electricity Retained Interest Corporations Bill 2015

ETU members can also view the ETU and Unions NSW submissions to the Upper House inquiry in relation to employment protections at the following links:

ETU Response to Questions on Notice including employment protections

Unions NSW Response to Questions on Notice on behalf of power industry unions

The ETU is continuing discussions with a range of politicians in order to achieve the best possible outcome for members. We have already secured meetings with some cross bench MP’s and we will continue to push for genuine consultation from the government.

The fact remains that no part of NSW will be spared when it comes to potential job losses resulting from privatisation. TransGrid remains a largely regional network while parts of Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid also extend into regional NSW.

For this reason I encourage all ETU members, their families and friends to call and email your local MP and urge them to support strong employment protections particularly Liberal and National Party members whose electorates will be impacted through the 100% sale of TransGrid and 50.4% sale of Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid.

A full list of MP contact details can be found here.

We will continue to keep you up to date on any developments, any questions may be directed to your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

In Unity - Steve Butler, Secretary


Volunteer to Stop the NSW Power Sell Off

- Thursday, March 12, 2015


The ETU is seeking volunteers to hand out voting information on Saturday 28 March to Stop the NSW Power Sell off.

Can you volunteer for a few hours to help the campaign on a polling booth?

Please complete the registration form below and someone from the Stop he Sell Off campaign will make contact with you to confirm details.

This is our last chance to send a strong message to the Baird Government that electricity privatisation is not acceptable. The only way we can win this battle is to get active and provide voters with the information they need but to do this WE NEED YOU! 

*We will be handing out Stop the Sell Off material in 12 target electorates across the state. Where we are not handing out Stop the Sell Off Material we can put you in contact with local candidates that support our campaign - those being Labor, The Greens & the Shooters & Fishers Party.

* Required

- All Day 8am - 6pm
- Morning 8am - 1pm
- Afternoon 1pm - 6pm

Delegates Meet to Develop Electricity Policy

- Monday, January 05, 2015

In mid December 70 power industry delegates representing the ETU, USU and Professionals Australia from Ausgrid, Endeavour energy, Essential Energy and TransGrid met to hear from experts in economics, the power industry and politics in order to discuss and develop an alternative electricity policy to the Liberals and Nationals privatisation plans.

The conference held over a full day on Saturday 13 December achieved a lot with delegates debating and endorsing a range of policy options that will see the NSW electricity sector reform but stay in public ownership.

Some of the experts that addressed the conference included Stephen Koukoulas, an economist and former economic advisor to a past Prime Minister and Dr Lynn e Chester a power industry expert and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.

In addition to this representatives from Labor and the Greens addressed delegates. The Shooters and Fishers party were unable to make it due to prior commitments but did provide a letter to all delegates.

It is clear that the NSW electricity sector is facing major reforms. Delegates at the conference made the pragmatic decision to support reform, maintain public ownership and prepare our industry for future changes including storage devices and distributed generation.

Almost thirty resolutions were adopted unanimously by the delegates and these are not being developed into a comprehensive policy document that will be released in order to generate public debate about the alternatives to privatisation.

ACCC Blocks AGL Takeover of Macquarie Generation

- Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The ACCC have today announced that they will block the takeover of Macquarie Generation by AGL Energy on the back of competition concerns.

After continually telling the people of NSW that the privatisation of Macquarie Generation would result in greater competition and lower electricity prices NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has been exposed by the ACCC who have found the exact opposite to be true.

The ETU was proactive in making submissions to the ACCC highlighting our concerns and the ACCC have supported these claims in todays ruling.

The ACCC's announcement can be viewed here.

Macquarie Generation Update

- Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The NSW Government has announced that they have accepted an offer of $1.5B from AGL Energy for the purchase of Macquarie Generation (even though Mac Gen’s book value is $2.1B) however this sale is currently subject to ACCC review and requires approval from the competition regulator.

On February 14 the ETU made a submission to the ACCC opposing the planned sale of Macquarie Generation to AGL Energy on the grounds that it will result in further market concentration, reduced competition and higher prices in the wholesale, hedge and retail markets and unreasonable barriers to entry for any potential future electricity generation and retail businesses. The ACCC have publicly said that they hold similar concerns.

On February 19 the ACCC wrote to the ETU seeking feedback on a range of undertakings that AGL Energy have provided should the sale be approved. The ETU is in the process of responding to this, we will provide a copy of our response once it is finalised.

The NSW Treasurer has said that should the ACCC not approve AGL Energy to acquire Macquarie Generation that the Government will retain ownership.

This being the case the ETU is pressing the point with the ACCC that an alternative exists (continued government ownership) that will maintain Macquarie Generation as a standalone business and independent competitor to AGL Energy and others. As such the ETU believes that the ACCC must pursue this outcome above all else to ensure the level of market competition is maximised.

We will continue to fight in the name of public interest. The ETU is of the view that electricity supply is best served through publicly owned vertically integrated businesses and we will continue to pursue this agenda.

Despite legislation passing the NSW Parliament permitting the sale of the publicly owned generators, the ETU have remained a vocal opponent to this process both in the media and by actively participating in processes such as that being undertaken by the ACCC. We are committed and will continue to fight for our members on this issue.

Related documents:

ETU Submission opposing AGL acquisition of Macquarie Generation.

ACCC response to ETU incl AGL “Court enforceable undertaking”.

Economist says electricity privatisation has “record of failure”

- Thursday, February 20, 2014

Prominent Australian economist Professor John Quiggin has launched a scathing attack on energy sector privatisation, concluding that it has failed to deliver promised benefits for consumers.

Professor Quiggin examined 20 years of pro-privatisation reform in his report, “Electricity Privatisation in Australia: A Record of Failure”, which included a detailed economic examination of the outcomes of power sales in Victoria and South Australia.

His research has revealed that many of the claimed benefits of privatisation have not been supported.

Read Prof. Quiggin's full report here.

Watch the documentary trailer or the full version documentary (18 min.)

Stop the Sell Off hits the Airwaves

- Thursday, July 11, 2013

During May/June our Stop the Sell Off campaign rolled out advertising including 11 major billboards located in metro and regional NSW, newspaper ads and a radio ad.

To find out more about the campaign visit the campaign website: www.stoptheselloff.org.au and follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to our radio ad here.

Stop The Sell Off

- Thursday, April 11, 2013

The ETU along with other power industry unions have recommenced the Stop the Sell Off campaign against plans to privatise the electricity distribution and transmission networks and Snowy Hydro.

Please read the Notice to Members for further information.

   NTM Anti Privatisation Campaign