The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has today made a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urging the market regulator to reject AGL Energy’s acquisition of publicly owned Macquarie Generation.
The ETU is running a campaign against electricity privatisation called Stop the Sell Off where the union is backing community calls to stop further privatisation of publicly owned electricity assets.
Campaign spokesperson, Adam Kerslake said today that the ACCC has a legal and moral obligation to act in the best interest of electricity consumers and the public generally.
“People expect the competition regulator to do its job and stand up for consumers, which in the case of AGL’s bid for Macquarie Generation would be to reject the proposal outright,” said Mr Kerslake.
“The public were told in no uncertain terms that the privatisation of publicly owned electricity generators, including Macquarie Generation, would result in greater competition and reduced electricity prices.
“The truth of the matter is that any sale of Macquarie Generation to AGL will have the reverse affect that is, less competition, greater market concentration and higher electricity prices.
“If the ACCC gives the green light and permits AGL to buy Macquarie Generation, what we will see is a reduction in competition and the creation of a company that will have significant market dominance.
“The question I have is how can this be in the interest of electricity consumers and the people of NSW?
“What makes things worse is that NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has today disclosed that AGL’s bid for Macquarie Generation falls significantly short of what the company is actually worth.
“Macquarie Generation has a book value in excess of $2 billion, however AGL’s offer is $1.72 billion meaning the people of NSW will not only be left with higher electricity prices but the Treasurer will be selling a public asset for less than what it is worth.
“If the ACCC lives up to community expectations and rejects AGL’s offer, then Mike Baird must live up to his commitment that the NSW Government will maintain public ownership of Macquarie Generation.
“The Upper Hunter community has been put through the wringer too many times when it comes to the privatisation of Macquarie Generation; its time to put a stop to this privatisation madness.” Mr Kerslake said.