Executives at publicly-owned electricity network operator Essential Energy received almost $4 million, including generous bonuses of up to $72,000, at the same time they were claiming challenging financial conditions left them with no choice but to axe 700 regional jobs and reduce services for consumers.
The company’s annual report, quietly released this month, also revealed that after tax profits for the last financial year were $266.3 million, while the company paid a total of $248.8 million to the NSW Government.
Essential Energy chief operating officer Gary Humphries took home the most generous package, with his wage and bonuses totalling $544,731, in addition to superannuation and other benefits.
Ten executives at the company received a total of almost $4 million, with base wages of $3,522,747, while seven pocketed a share of $303,910 in bonuses. The ranks of senior management also swelled by more than ten per cent, going from 138 the year before to 153.
The revelations came as Essential Energy management on Friday told employees they would be forced to use accrued annual and long service leave, whether or not they wished to, to help the company save money.
The Electrical Trades Union slammed the culture of executive greed, saying it was extraordinary that at the same time apprentice programs were being axed, regional depots closed, 700 jobs cut, and employees were being forced to use up leave entitlements, management were pocketing such huge salaries.
“Essential Energy is meant to be a publicly owned company delivering an essential service to vast parts of NSW,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.
“Instead, it is being run as a profit-making machine, with the NSW Government gouging $270.8 million from the electricity bills of homeowners and small businesses, while senior management take home huge salaries and massive bonuses.
“The community was told Essential Energy had no choice but to slash jobs and services because of the financial challenges it faced, yet now we see that those cuts were only necessary because the Baird Government and the individual executives have been lining their pockets.
“What is even more disturbing is that this executive management team and their actions have been supported whole-heartedly by the NSW Government, including local MP’s from the Liberal and National parties.
“These are the actions of a company and executive team that are totally out of touch with the communities they are meant to serve, and quite frankly completely out of touch with the expectations of voters about how publicly-owned utilities should behave.”