Fat cat bonus higher than average wage
QUEENSLAND power fat cats have pocketed lavish bonuses despite a surge in complaints by consumers over costs and supply in the past year.
More than $1 million in salary and benefits was paid to Energy Queensland boss David Smales, whose $91,000 "performance payment'' eclipsed the average wage.
Chief financial officer Peter Scott took a $65,000 bonus to earn $599,000 and seven other executives shared bonuses of $268,000.
Queensland's state-owned power utilities paid their executives $1.1 million in bonuses during 2017-18, News Queensland can reveal.
Stanwell boss Richard Van Breda got a salary worth $858,000, including a $96,000 bonus. Four executives shared salary packages totalling $1.9 million, including $174,000 in bonus payments.
Power generator CS Energy paid chief executive Martin Moore an $889,000 package, including a $77,000 bonus. Six other executives shared $190,000 in bonuses.
Transmission network Powerlink paid chief executive Merryn York an $815,000 package, including a $65,000 bonus labelled an "at risk payment". Another $100,000 was shared between five other executives.
The public power utilities delivered a record $1.8 billion in dividends to Treasury during 2017-18 - $300 million over their target.
It came as complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman soared by one-third, with 8838 complaints about prices and supply.
The Ombudsman forced power firms to repay $912,713 to ripped-off consumers.
Billing complaints rose 26 per cent to 3659, while provision complaints soared 237 per cent to 687 complaints.
Queensland Electricity Users Network co-ordinator Jennifer Brownie slammed the executive salaries.
"Huge salaries add to the cost of running the business and that's passed on to consumers," she said.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokesman Dan Petrie said rising power prices were costing jobs and sending small businesses broke.
"The No. 1 issue for business is the price of power - it is destroying profit margins and taking a sledgehammer to small business confidence," he said.
Electricity bills for households in southeast Queensland have soared 38 per cent over the past decade to hit an average $1703 last financial year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.