Call to end energy re-merger speculation

16/07/2009 - 06:43

Opposition energy spokesman Mark McGowan today called on the state government to end 10 months of uncertainty surrounding the possible re-merger of Verve Energy and Synergy.

Call to end energy re-merger speculation

Opposition energy spokesman Mark McGowan today called on the state government to end 10 months of uncertainty surrounding the possible re-merger of Verve Energy and Synergy.

Mr McGowan said reports suggested that a review commissioned by the Barnett government and conducted by energy consultant Peter Oates, has recommended it abandon any plan to re-merge the state's energy generator and supplier.

"It seems Premier Colin Barnett will have to do an embarrassing backflip on his ludicrous obsession with the re-merger," he said today.

"Taxpayers have paid up to $1000 a day for Mr Oates to complete this review and they deserve the right to know what its outcomes and recommendations are.

"The uncertainty in Western Australia's energy industry has been escalated by conflicting comments by Mr Barnett and Energy Minister Peter Collier.

"If the energy minister wants to show that he is in control of his portfolio he should release this document and put an end to re-merger speculation.

"Releasing the report will give the energy industry and the community confidence that it is safe to invest in Western Australia's energy market."

However, Mr Collier has denied the government was preparing to abandon the re-amalgamation of Verve Energy and Synergy, though reports suggest the merger is unlikely to be recommended when Mr Oates, a former Western Power executive, hands down the findings of the review later this month.

Mr Collier had told WA Business News that merging the state's energy generator and supplier "remains an option", but added that he was aware of the arguments against it.

Mr McGowan said any merger of Verve Energy and Synergy would lead to a dramatic fall in investment in the energy industry.

"The Barnett government has done all it can to destabilise the energy sector and to discourage new investment in power generation," he said.

"A re-merger would lead to less competition, higher prices for energy, and would result in the Barnett Government having to fund its own infrastructure for power generation as demand grows.

"The state's energy needs are already at risk given the government's decision to moth-ball the new high voltage transmission lines from Pinjar to Geraldton.

"Even though several generation projects are relying on the extra capacity provided by the 330 kilovolt line to Geraldton, the government has not provided one cent towards the project over the next four years."

 

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