State government looks to power restructure to cut costs
A $4 BILLION restructuring of the Queensland Government's electricity network businesses' balance sheets will make up part of next week's State Budget as a way to slash debt.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the measures would reduce interest payments on general government debt by about $600 million over the forward estimates.
Total government debt is expected to hit $80 billion.
Mr Pitt said there would be no forced redundancies or impact on electricity transmission and distribution charges.
The Australian Energy Regulator sets these charges.
The government said Ergon, Energex and Powerlink were geared at a net debt to regulated asset base ration of about 55% compared to the industry's 80% average.
Queensland's three Government owned corporations will be given a new target gearing ratios of 70% for Ergon and Energex and 75% for Powerlink.
"The people of Queensland supported Labor's plan to keep these businesses in public ownership to deliver better outcomes for Queensland taxpayers," Mr Pitt sad.
"With the assets firmly staying in public hands, we need to get them operating more efficiently and making the State's investments work harder for Queenslanders."
"The businesses' current gearing levels have developed over time, in an environment where significant capital investment was required to meet growing demand," he said.
"With forecast electricity demand expected to remain flat over the next regulatory period, the businesses are under less pressure to expand their networks to meet customer needs."
Opposition energy spokesman Andrew Powell told ABC radio if power prices did not rise it would mean frontline jobs or services would be cut.
"It's a slight of hand," he said.