Energy jobs shed in power merger

Unions say Essential Energy jobs on the Mid North Coast will be lost under the govt.'s merger plans.
Unions say Essential Energy jobs on the Mid North Coast will be lost under the govt.'s merger plans.

PLANS to merge Endeavour Energy, Ausgrid, and Essential Energy could strip thousands of positions from the job-starved Mid North Coast, Unions NSW has warned.

The O'Farrell Government announced it's plans of amalgamation as part of a cost-cutting initative, which could save up to $100 million a year.

On the flipside for consumers, the savings would be passed back to families in the form of rebates.

About 540,000 people with dependent children earning less than $150,000 a year will get $75 credit under the government's family energy rebate scheme from July 1.

That figure would rise to $150 by 2014.

Citing potential job losses, Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon, said the affected regions could ill afford further cut backs.

Locally the concern rests with the Essential Energy workforce, which is centred in Port Macquarie and whose local crews service the Coffs Coast.

"This merger will remove a breadwinner for thousands of families in Western Sydney and Port Macquarie," Mr Lennon said.

"At a time when the State's private sector is shedding jobs it's utterly perverse for the Government to cut jobs in critical regions.

"This State Government appears to have abandoned its aim of promoting jobs and is proceeding with a slash and burn approach at a time when the State economy is already vulnerable.

The Greens have also attacked the plan saying the merger would mean job losses, blackouts and less government control in the energy sector.                   

"One large company will mean even more political power in the hands of the board and even less capacity for the government to reject unnecessary spending plans that will inevitably inflate household power bills," Upper House MP John Kaye said.

"Inevitably front line jobs will be lost as the so-called efficiency gains are eaten up in yet more unnecessary capital works projects.

"The loss of local depots and maintenance teams will mean more blackouts," he said.

Topics:  essential energy greens state government

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