Electricity Privatisation

The ETU has commissioned an independent academic report and video documentary on privatisation of the energy sector which concludes that it has failed to deliver promised benefits for consumers.

Prominent Australian economist Professor John Quiggin examined 20 years of pro-privatisation reform in his report, “Electricity Privatisation in Australia: A Record of Failure”, which included a detailed economic examination of the outcomes of power sales in Victoria and South Australia.

His research has revealed that many of the claimed benefits of privatisation have not been supported, with key finding including:

  • price rises have been highest in States with privatised electricity networks;
  • customer dissatisfaction jumped, with complaints to the energy ombudsman in privatised States leaping from 500 to over 50,000 per annum;
  • resources have been diverted away from operational functions to management and marketing, resulting in higher costs and poorer service;
  • reliability has declined across a wide range of measures in Victoria;
  • promised increases to investment efficiency have not occurred;
  • real labour productivity has reduced as employment and training of tradespeople was gutted and numbers of managerial and sales staff exploded;
  • private owners are receiving unjustifiably high rates of return based on the low investment risk; and
  • consumers in privatised states bear the cost of approximately 10 per cent per annum interest on private owners’ debt, compared to substantially lower government borrowing costs of three per cent.

Click here to download Electricity Privatisation - A Record of Failure

Victoria's Power Sell-Off: The Shocking Truth