Electricity privatisation preparation looks to have started: union

THE Electrical Trade Union has called a TransGrid statement into question, arguing the wheels are in motion for privatisation.

Following statements from Central West Unions Alliance spokesman Joe Maric, who was concerned redundancies were already being sought in preparation for privatisation, TransGrid replied it was not the case.

The ETU’s Stop the Sell-off campaign director, Adam Kerslake, said there had been no indication the 59 jobs at TransGrid’s depot in Orange were on the line yet, but it was clear preparation had started, with the appointment of UBS and Deutsche Bank to oversee a scoping study.

The study will determine the best structure for the privatisation, including the proportion of the businesses to be leased and the sequence of the transactions.

“People from TransGrid have been seconded to work in Treasury so there’s a lot of work being done to create a model should the Coalition win the election,” he said.

Mr Kerslake argued the state government should not have commissioned a scoping study until it had public support.

“There are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars involved in doing a scoping study - [Premier] Mike Baird claims they’re not charging, but they are doing a lot of work,” he said.

“It does very much indicate a fait accompli.”

He also questioned Essential Energy’s six voluntary redundancies, saying despite the government’s decision to maintain full ownership of the distributor, the redundancies and the halt on taking on new apprentices could indicate it was being fattened for eventual sale.

“In our experience, partial privatisation leads to full privatisation, it’s just a matter of time,” Mr Kerslake said.

A TransGrid spokesman declined to comment, saying the state government was responsible for the scoping study.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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