Pow­er­ful dig over big profit

Shepparton News - Country News - - EUROA SHOW 2018 -

En­ergy net­work own­ers must be liv­ing in a par­al­lel uni­verse if they think Aus­tralia’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor should be pleased to be pay­ing un­jus­ti­fied prof­its, ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tors’ Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Steve Whan.

The NIC, on be­half of the Agri­cul­tural In­dus­tries En­ergy Task­force, re­cently re­leased a re­port that showed the en­ergy net­works had col­lec­tively earned eco­nomic or mo­nop­oly prof­its of $2.1 bil­lion.

‘‘That’s $2.1 bil­lion more profit than is jus­ti­fied,’’ Mr Whan said.

‘‘In re­sponse, En­ergy Net­works Aus­tralia didn’t bother to deny the profit, in­stead they stretched the credulity of any Aus­tralian en­ergy user by claim­ing on Twit­ter that ‘higher prof­its equal lower power bills for cus­tomers’.

‘‘In the in­ter­est­ing logic be­hind this they try to claim that these ex­ces­sive prof­its are the re­sult of ‘ef­fi­cien­cies’ and that these prof­its will be handed back to cus­tomers in fu­ture price de­ter­mi­na­tions.

‘‘I, for one, feel that these com­pa­nies are telling us not to worry about the jobs be­ing lost or our ex­port mar­kets dis­ap­pear­ing as we be­come less com­pet­i­tive — don’t worry about a thing be­cause even­tu­ally they will give us some of the money back.

‘‘As I see it the net­works are be­ing disin­gen­u­ous, we are quite happy for them to make rea­son­able prof­its and be ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tors.

‘‘Let’s be clear we have no prob­lem with in­cen­tive reg­u­la­tion and we are not call­ing for a rate of re­turn reg­u­la­tion.

‘‘What this study found is that net­works as a group are mak­ing su­per-nor­mal prof­its be­cause in the real world they are low risk and con­se­quently have low fi­nanc­ing costs, not be­cause they are out­per­form­ing.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.