The New South Wales government has announced the sale of the Delta Electricity Mt. Piper and Wallerawang power stations to EnergyAustralia for $160 million in a move it claims finally brings a satisfactory conclusion to what was a botched deal.
Treasurer Mike Baird said the decision would finally free the NSW government and taxpayers from billions of dollars in debt resulting from the 2010 electricity deal concluded by the State Labor government.
“This is an excellent result for the people of NSW, who will no longer be exposed to billions of dollars in liabilities created by Labor’s GenTrader transaction,” Baird said. “This was a disastrous transaction executed in Labor’s dying days, in which the Auditor General found that the output from the GenTrader assets was sold by State Labor for less than half the book value.”
The sale follows recommendations made by the Independent Tamberlin Special Commission Inquiry to either sell or lease the GenTrader power stations acquired under the Kenneally Labor government.
Under the original transactions, the Labor government maintained control of power stations under the management of Eraring Energy and Delta West, but sold generation rights in accordance with a complex model.
Baird said the auditor-general concluded that Labor sold the GenTrader assets for less than half their value. The sale removes an estimated $200 million in liabilities over the life of the GenTrader agreement.
He noted that employees from both power stations would be transferred to Energy Australia under the same terms and conditions of their current positions, in accordance with procedures governing state asset transactions.
The sale of the Mt. Piper and Wallerawang power stations closely follows the sale of the Eraring power plant to Origin by the NSW government for $50 million at the start of the month.
Baird also said sales of other generator assets remain on track, with the Delta Electricity Central Coast power stations at Vales Point and Colongra scheduled for sale next year.
The New South Wales government has recently embarked on a sales spree of public assets, including a slew of government buildings, as part of efforts to scale back debt levels.