The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - KELMENY FRASER

EN­ERGY com­pany bosses on fat-cat salaries are reap­ing $75,000 bonuses – equal to the av­er­age worker’s to­tal an­nual pay – as house­hold­ers strug­gle to meet sky-high power bills.

Power prices are shap­ing up as a key state elec­tion bat­tle­ground as re­sent­ment mounts to­wards bil­lion-dol­lar prof­its be­ing made by the state-owned power com­pa­nies.

De­spite a na­tional probe by the con­sumer watch­dog into ex­or­bi­tant power bills, en­ergy com­pany an­nual re­ports re­veal top power ex­ec­u­tives con­tinue to count on big bonuses and fat pay pack­ets.

Bonuses paid to se­nior ex­ec­u­tives at state-owned en­ergy com­pa­nies Pow­er­link, En­ergy Queens­land, CS En­ergy and Stan­well to­talled $973,000 in the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year.

The bonuses drove some power firm’s bosses’ to­tal an­nual pay to al­most $900,000.

Elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tor CS En­ergy’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Martin Moore was the big­gest earner with a to­tal pay of $869,000 last fi­nan­cial year.

That in­cluded a base salary of $757,000 and a $70,000 bonus pay­ment.

Another state-owned gen­er­a­tor Stan­well Cor­po­ra­tion boss Richard Van Breda earned a to­tal pack­age of $834,000, in­clud­ing a base salary of $625,000 and a whop- ping $96,000 bonus as well.

At power distrib­u­tor En­ergy Queens­land, then in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Ef­feney, who later moved to another ex­ec­u­tive job, earned $700,000, in­clud­ing a $106,000 bonus.

Pow­er­link chief Mer­ryn York was paid $865,000, which in­cluded base pay of $645,000 and a $75,000 bonus. The av­er­age an­nual wage in Queens­land is about $77,800.

Pow­er­link’s an­nual re­port re­veals it out­stripped its fore­cast earn­ings by mil­lions of dol­lars to re­turn a to­tal $361.2 mil­lion in prof­its to the Gov­ern­ment, fac­tor­ing in “spe­cial div­i­dends.” The com­pa­nies pro­vided a com­bined $1.6 bil­lion boost to the Gov­ern­ment’s bot­tom line.

CS En­ergy partly cred­ited a turn­around in its prof­itabil­ity to volatil­ity in whole­sale prices.

“Our com­mer­cial op­er­a­tional and rev­enue per­for­mance all ex­ceeded pre­vi­ous per­for­mance bench­marks,” Mr Moore wrote of the out­come in its lat­est an­nual re­port

The State Op­po­si­tion has made an elec­tion pledge to freeze en­ergy ex­ec­u­tive bonuses un­til power bills tum­ble and have likened the big power prof­its as a Gov­ern­ment tax in dis­guise.

“An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk has been us­ing elec­tric­ity as a se­cret tax on Queens­land fam­i­lies to prop up the bud­get,” Lib­eral Na­tional Party spokesman for en­ergy Michael Hart said.

“Queenslanders are pay­ing more than ever be­fore, enough is enough,” he said.

En­ergy Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley yes­ter­day dis­missed the bonus freeze as “ridicu­lous”.

“That saves each elec­tric­ity ac­count holder one cent per week – 50 cents a year,” he said.

“What a joke. (The LNP) haven’t got a clue about how our elec­tric­ity sys­tem works.

“The ele­phant in the room is a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment that is paral­ysed on en­ergy pol­icy,” he said.

to­tal re­mu­ner­a­tion (in­cludes $75,000 bonus)

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