Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, today called on the CLP to explain how much the structural separation of PowerWater into three corporations is costing Territorians.
“Massive CLP hikes to power, water and sewerage tariffs have Territorians are struggling to pay their bills,” Ms Manison said.
“Territorians have suffered a third year of tariff hikes that hit household and businesses with a 30 percent power price hike, 40 percent water cost hike and 25 percent increase to sewerage charges.
“Before the latest 5 percent price hike in January this year, the CLP’s power and water tariff increases had ripped around an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government split PowerWater Corporation into three separate entities last year. A practice undertaken to prepare electricity utilities for privatisation.
“The split was carried out without any cost benefit analysis to support the separation.
“How much did the structural separation of PowerWater Corporation cost Territorians taxpayers?
“Industry insiders are telling us the structural separation costs are already at $10 million and rising. The CLP Government could say what has been spent to date, why won’t they?”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Territorians being hit with power bills this quarter are beginning to feel the full effect of the CLP’s power price hikes, Shadow Minister for Essential Services Nicole Manison said today.
Ms Manison said the CLP’s staggered price hikes are now fully implemented with the third year of tariff hikes amounting to a 30% increase to power, 40% increase to water and 25% increase to sewerage charges.
“Territorians are starting to receive their bills with another 5% price hike – and are feeling the pain of the successive revenue grab from the CLP Government,” Ms Manison said.
“The power, water and sewerage price hikes are hurting Territory families and Territory businesses.
“Before the latest 5% increase hit, the CLP’s increases had ripped an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians, with power tariff revenue directly raising $115M.
“This is $151 million taken from family budgets and does not account for the flow-on effects to goods and services where businesses passed on the tariff increases.
“Territory families are struggling under these massive power, water and sewerage hikes and businesses are doing it tough.
“Every day we hear from Territorians struggling to pay their bills and considering packing up and leaving the Territory.”
Ms Manison said the CLP was elected on a promise to reduce the cost of living – yet they did exactly the opposite, putting profits before people.
“Territorians are rightly concerned that the CLP has increased tariffs to fatten PowerWater profits to ready it for sale, and privatisation will lead to more price hikes, job cuts and reduced reliability.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said Chief Minister, Adam Giles, is proving Territorians can’t trust what he says as he tried to dodge responsibility for the painful Power tariff increases he has inflicted.
“Adam Giles last week claimed on ABC radio that the CLP ‘took the power price increase from 30% back to 20%’, but the fact is people are paying 30% more now for power,” Ms Manison said.
“Adam Giles signed off on the latest 5% power tariff increase that came into effect on 1 January this year and his mate Dave Tollner signed off on the previous 5% power tariff hike.
“So far we’ve seen increases of 20% in January 2013, another increase of 5% in January 2014 and now another painful 5% increase on 1 January this year – with the CLP fully implanting an overall increase of 30% in power prices.
“Households have also had staggered increases to water and sewerage costs; with water up 40% and sewerage up 25% since the CLP came to office.
“For large households this means having to find and extra $2000 dollars a year just to keep the lights on.”
Ms Manison said that these massive power, water and sewerage price hikes are also hurting small businesses, who either have to pass the cost on to consumers or affect their capacity to grow their business and jobs.
“Adam Giles has held the role of Treasurer and shareholding Minister for Power and Water since Dave Tollner resigned in disgrace from Cabinet,” Ms Manison said.
“We’ve had five Treasurers under this chaotic CLP Government and we’ve been waiting since last Wednesday to find out who the next Treasurer will be.
“The cost of living burden on Territorians has worsened under this arrogant and chaotic CLP Government.”
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said today’s estimates hearing revealed that PowerWater Corporation, Jacana Energy and Territory Generation were not ready for their split in July.
“Today’s estimates made it clear that the CLP Government was so hell bent on splitting the Territory’s utilities, that they neglected to make the necessary preparations,” Ms Manison said.
“The CLP Government was unable to provide any financial evidence or cost benefit analysis last May to justify the split.
“Today, under scrutiny from the Opposition and Independent members it was clear that Territory Generation and Jacana Energy are flying blind.
“They were unable to answer many questions about their financial operations as they simply don’t have this critical data and information.”
Ms Manison said that despite Territory families struggling under the high cost of living pressures, the CLP Government is putting profits before people by increasing power and water tariffs.
“It was revealed today that an average Territory family of two adults and two children will need around $8,000 a year to cover their power and water bills.
“PowerWater Corporation made a profit of $260 million last financial year and the CLP Government is putting profits before people.
“Power and water are essential services. Not a way for the CLP Government to take money out of Territorians pockets.”
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said that while Territorians are struggling to cover the cost of their high power and water bills PowerWater made a profit of $260 million last year.
Ms Manison said that $106 million profit was ripped directly out of the pockets of Territorians through the CLP tariff hikes.
“The 2014-15 Statement of Corporate Intent by Power Water Corporation shows that PowerWater made $259.4m Net Profit After Tax, which includes a direct Operating Revenue profit of $106.6m - that is CLP tariff hikes,” Ms Manison said.
“Territorian budgets are stretched to breaking point because the CLP Government imposed electricity tariff price hikes of 25 percent - about $2,000 in extra costs for an average family - with another increase of 5 percent to hit Territorians on 1 January next year.
“The CLP Government is adding to the cost of living burden hurting Territory families with their profit before people agenda.”
Ms Manison said the estimates hearing for PowerWater Corporation, Jacana Energy and Territory Generation this Wednesday will give Labor the opportunity to scrutinise the huge costs of splitting PowerWater Corporation into three separate entities.
“Territory families and businesses are battling to pay their power and water bills while the CLP Government pockets profits,” Ms Manison said.
“The CLP Government is so preoccupied with privatising the Territory’s utilities assets that they are pushing to make profits while ignoring the plight of Territorians.
“How much did it cost to split PowerWater Corporation?
“Why are the CLP Government still increasing power and water costs when they promised to reduce the cost of living in the Territory?”
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, today said that the introduction of a new private power station will not mean cheaper power for Territorians.
“This will not mean a family living in the Top End can expect cheaper power bills,” Ms Manison said.
“The new power station that is set to be built by Northern Power and General Electric near Weddell is unlikely to result in lower power prices for Territorians.
“In other jurisdictions where utilities have undergone structural separation and privatisation the result was higher costs and reduced reliability of service.
“This is another step towards the CLP Government’s ultimate goal of privatisation of PowerWater.
“The new power station will sell the electricity they generate to energy retailers who will be focused on making profits, not providing affordable reliable services for customers.
“Electricity and water are essential services for Territorians, and need to be reliable and affordable.
“They should not be used as profit making tools for the CLP Government.”