Media Release

20 September 2017

Blackouts in the bush last nearly three times longer than the city, the Energy and Utilities Minister has revealed in answer to questions by Labor.

While the ‘triple standard’ for the bush is getting worse with the length of blackouts up in regional NSW – in metropolitan areas blackouts are stable or down.

This follows the Minister’s refusal to step in to stop ongoing job cuts at Essential Energy after the power provider was given the all-clear to slash 600 jobs.

Labor asked the following question to Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin:

What average duration (in minutes) of power outages has Essential Energy reported in 2016, 2015 and 2014?

The same question was asked of Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid, which predominately power homes in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong.

The Minister said that blackouts for Essential Energy customers lasted 3 hours and 47 minutes on average, while blackouts for Endeavour and Ausgrid customers lasted between 70-85 minutes. (See table below for the full figures as provided by the Energy Minister).

This comes seven months after the Energy Minister refused in Parliament to step in and stop job cuts at Essential Energy.

Essential Energy announced job cuts across Broken Hill, Queanbeyan, Goulburn and Port Macquarie, after courts approved plans to shed 600 jobs in the bush.

Average length of power outages per customer
  Essential Endeavour Ausgrid
2014 183 minutes 89.1 minutes 64.3 minutes
2015 217 minutes 92 minutes 77.3 minutes
2016 227 minutes 85.4 minutes 70.8 minutes


Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Adam Searle:

“The Minister has once again admitted that regional NSW energy customers are worse off compared with their city counterparts.

“The Liberal-National Party has an unacceptable history of treating regional NSW residents as second class citizens.

“If these long blackouts were happening in the city, we can be sure the Premier and Energy Minister would step in.”