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NSW Government windfall from state-owned electricity assets


Source: abc. net.au/news, 5 November 2013


An increase in profits by the three state-owned electricity distribution companies has resulted in dividends to the New South Wales Government almost doubling.

The Acting NSW Auditor-General Tony Whitfield has released the annual report on the electricity industry.

In the past year the government has completed the sale of two more generators Eraring Energy and Delta West, and is now calling for expressions of interest in Macquarie Generation.

The generation assets delivered a five per cent return, but the distribution network almost doubled its profits in 2012-13 to $1.3 billion.

That saw dividends payable to the government also almost double from $494 million to $913 million.

A spokesman for the Treasurer Mike Baird says the amount is still $16 million below the highest dividends paid to the previous government.

The Auditor-General says increases in network revenue, reduced capital expenditure and ongoing efficiency savings contributed to the higher profits.

The NSW Greens say the latest audit of the state's electricity sector shows the government could have been doing more to reduce prices.

Greens MP John Kaye says it is money that could have been returned to electricity customers in the form of lower bills.

"Instead they took the money and bleated on about the impact of the carbon price on electricity household prices," he said.

"The reality is the biggest culprit in this was not Julia Gillard and the carbon price. The biggest culprit in rising power bills was the O'Farrell government and their continued taking of larger and larger profits from the electricity industry."