Sunday, January 03, 2010


Red News Readers,

Jenny Haines of Newtown Posted at 10:40 AM January 03, 2010, published Daily Telegraph:

No, No, and No, they do not deserve these bonuses. If you accept the government and bureaucracy's argument that these managers have done such a poor job of managing electricity services that they have to be privatised, why are they getting these bonuses? Seems a bit contradictory to me? What I suspect is happening is that there is a lot of price manipulation going on in preparation for the privatisation of electricity services and the poor bunny in all of these corporate manoeuvures is the consumer. An adequate supply of electricity at affordable prices is the right of evey citizen, just as we have the right to affordable health care. Previous generations knew that this could only be done by regulated supply, not by the corporate sector who have no sense of social responsibility.

Jenny Haines

Power cuts as bosses get bonuses

• By political writer LINDA SILMALIS

• From: The Sunday Telegraph

• January 03, 2010 12:00AM

Largest salary ... EnergyAustralia's George Maltabarow. Pic: Angelo Soulas Source: The Daily Telegraph

THOUSANDS of struggling families are being disconnected from power at the same time as the State's energy bosses pocket thousands of dollars in performance bonuses.

A damning report by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) shows more than 18,000 residents had their power cut off for non-payment of bills.

One in seven of the disconnections was of a pensioner. The State's pricing watchdog has warned disconnecting rates could rise as a new pricing regime comes into effect in July.At the same time as families struggle to pay the bills, new annual report figures show the salaries of the State's nine energy provider bosses to be increasing.

Of the three State Government-owned energy corporations, EnergyAustralia boss George Maltabarow took home the largest salary.

Mr Maltabarow was handed a $135,450 performance bonus on top of his $602,000 salary.

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Related Coverage

• Price hike : Family power bills up $400

• Time to find an extra $300 for your bills Daily Telegraph, 15 Dec 2009

• 'Shocking' power bill rises proposed The Australian, 15 Dec 2009

• NSW power bills to rise up to 62% Daily Telegraph, 15 Dec 2009

• Residents burned by higher electricity Daily Telegraph, 30 Nov 2009

• Family power bills up $400 Daily Telegraph, 29 Nov 2009

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The bonus was part of $643,592 handed out to the company's eight senior executives who each pocketed between $50,000 and $80,000 on top of their regular salaries.

Do they deserve a bonus? Tell us below.

The total salary bill for EnergyAustralia's chief executive officers was $2.6

EnergyAustralia will charge customers up to $100 more per year for electricity next year.

IPART recommended the increase to allow for the repair of the State's neglected networks and to cover the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme.

Integral Energy boss Vince Graham also received a performance bonus of $19,460 to top up his $558,600 salary.

Country Energy boss Craig Murray picked up a $30,975 pay rise to boost his $650,475 salary.

Of the private-sector energy providers who are licensed by the State Government to sell electricity in NSW, Origin Energy boss Grant King took home a $4.7 million salary package, which included almost $700,000 worth of bonuses.

The generous financial rewards came as the State's pricing watchdog published a critical report into the performance of the energy providers in meeting customer needs.

The report found complaints about billing have almost doubled in five years, from 3334 to 6296.

The figures could be higher with some companies under-reporting complaint numbers, it said.

Almost one in 10 households had more than one disconnecting per year for not paying bills.

IPART warned the disconnecting rate was at risk of increasing with new higher prices being adopted in July.

It called on the energy retailers to ensure more families would not be disadvantaged.

"We consider that greater focus will be required by electricity retailers to ensure appropriate assistance is provided to customers facing financial difficulties during times of significant electricity price increases in NSW," the report said.

Call-centre performance also dropped, with customers abandoning calls before being answered.

EnergyAustralia topped the list of drop-out rates with 7.7 per cent of customers hanging up before speaking to a human operator, compared with 2.9 per cent last year.

However, the company claimed this was because customers were happy with the recorded information they had received on the phone.

A spokeswoman for EnergyAustralia said: "EnergyAustralia successfully competes against some of the country's largest private-sector companies whose CEOs earned almost 10 times more," she said.