BILL SHOCK ENERGY BOSSES CASH IN
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)