NSW power networks fight one-third fee cut decision

POWER networks in NSW are fighting to overturn an Australian Energy Regulator decision which would force them to cut fees by nearly a third.

Networks NSW, which includes Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy, says it will appeal the regulations imposed on April 30.

"The board of each NSW network business has carefully considered the implications of the AER's final decisions and do not believe the AER has followed the National Electricity Rules designed to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 3.3 million electricity consumers in NSW," Networks NSW chief Vince Graham said.

The networks will not appeal the $731 million cuts to capital expenditure included in the AER's final determinations.

"We will, however, appeal the average annual cuts of $324 million to operating expenditure due to the impact on vegetation and bushfire risk mitigation programs across the state and the AER's decision not to provide a workable transition plan to implement continuing efficiency improvements," Mr Graham said.

Mr Graham said Networks NSW had cut $3 billion from capital and operating programs and 3000 jobs since the NSW Network Reform Program started in July 2012.

They plan to cut a further 2200 jobs by June 2019.

"Networks NSW's overriding objective is to protect the long-term interest of electricity consumers by balancing the need for safe, reliable and affordable electricity networks. We don't believe the AER's determinations meet these objectives," Mr Graham said.

Legal appeals were lodged with the Australian Competition Tribunal this week and were to be lodged with the Federal Court by Thursday. -APN NEWSDESK

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