Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy will be considering the implications of the AER’s final determinations against the National Electricity Laws according to Networks NSW CEO, Vince Graham.

“Our priority is to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity in the interests of 7.5 million people in NSW,” Mr Graham said.

“Our customers have told us that while electricity affordability is important to them, they didn’t want us to compromise service, safety or reliability.

“While we share a common objective with the AER to continue to drive efficiencies in the three businesses we must also maintain our focus on network safety and reliability.

“The recent and devastating event of severe weather in NSW is a timely reminder of just how much we all rely on the reliability and availability of electricity. We don’t want to risk community safety or our ability to respond to customers.

“We obviously need time to absorb the detail and judge the AER’s decisions against our well-defined criteria for safety, reliability and affordability outcomes for customers.

“The AER has rejected network proposals for a transition period to implement necessary reforms and sensible workforce reductions and has applied today’s decisions retrospectively to July 2014.

“Ten months into this financial year they have removed $870 million from budgets they set just 12 months ago. They have also rejected funding for any redundancy payments associated with the necessary reductions in our workforce.”

Mr Graham said the pace of reform in the three network businesses would continue.

“Since July 2012, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy have cut more than $3 billion from previously approved AER capital and operating programs and safely reduced 3000 administrative and network jobs from the three network businesses. We’ve done this without compromising the safety, security and reliability of our networks,” he said.

“We’re committed to driving progressive and continuing reforms to make these businesses more efficient than they are today so we can keep downward pressure on network charges.

“Our customers and our communities need the AER to be focused on more than just technical benchmarking and retrospective cost cutting. They also need to know that the AER protects and advocates their long-term interests in network safety and reliability.”

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