Essential Energy customers on the flood-affected North Coast of New South Wales have been told by the energy company they are on their own when their properties have had power isolated. See Essential Energy’s Facebook site below.
In question time in the Legislative Council today, Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy, Adam Searle MLC asked Minister Don Harwin MLC who would pay for this requirement to use external electricians: the NSW Government, Essential Energy or flood-affected customers?
Minister Harwin was unable to answer.
Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle said:
“This is simply not good enough. Where homes and businesses have had power isolated, safety must be paramount before power is switched on again.
“But for the government to require people to engage private electricians, but to not be able to say who will pay for it, is just extraordinary, particularly when electricians in the area are in short supply.
“In the past, this function would have been carried out by Essential but continuous job cuts under the Liberal/National Coalition Government have stripped it of capacity.
“Since they took office in 2011, nearly 1450 jobs have gone from Essential with 48 being abolished since Christmas 2016 and another 550 to go before mid-2018. The company has signalled it will get rid of another 1000 jobs by 2019.
“These assaults on the workforce have left Essential’s ability to respond to emergencies such as fires and floods stretched.
“On top of this, the government either has no idea who will have to pay the extra costs of ensuring power is reconnected safely, or does not want to say.”
4 April 2017