10 March 2020
The NSW Labor Opposition has raised concerns about The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales (IPART) following shocking revelations surrounding Ausgrid during Budget Estimates at NSW Parliament today.
It was uncovered during the Customer Service Hearing that IPART hasn’t audited the electricity provider Ausgrid since mid-2017.
It was also discovered that IPART failed to investigate or take any action after the electricity provider failed to deliver the basic service of powering homes and businesses in the wake of major storms last month.
Ausgrid struggled for weeks to reconnect tens of thousands of homes which had been cut off during major storms because it lacked the skilled personnel to undertake crucial repairs.
Labor has previously revealed Ausgrid is currently operating at its lowest staffing level in years, shedding almost 3,000 jobs under this Government. The electricity operator’s workforce is 3228 – well below the legally required 3570 employees. What’s more, leaked documents revealed by Labor last week showed that Ausgrid has plans to cut another 500 jobs next year, bringing their total workforce down to almost 2,700.
It’s understood IPART is now looking into the information provided by Labor.
Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Adam Searle said: “It’s shocking IPART hasn’t audited Ausgrid for almost three years given the astonishing fluctuations in workforce numbers that have been reported.”
“The recent storm event uncovered that the promise by Gladys Berejiklian of guaranteed workforce numbers at Ausgrid has been broken. This should have raised alarm bells for IPART, it should have been immediately investigated” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy