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Treasurer Must Take Some Responsibility for Hydro Woes


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tags: Treasury, Hydro Tasmania, Energy, Energy Security, TasNetworks

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson

The Treasurer can try to blame previous governments for the parlous situation Hydro Tasmania is in, but the fact is that on his watch and under his dividend policy, the gas which should have been used to fire up Tamar Valley to protect storages was being sold on the mainland while Hydro was frantically exporting to the mainland.

In the middle of a drought last year, Hydro Tasmania was trading gas - which should have been firing up the Tamar Valley Power Station - on the mainland spot market.

Right up to the point at which Basslink broke, Hydro was exporting power to the mainland, further draining already parched storages.

Carrying a massive $854 million debt and under pressure to deliver dividends to government, Hydro clearly placed a  high priority on raising revenue through selling gas, exporting, and achieving Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

It is a fact that Hydro's debt would now be at $1.1 billion if it hadn't been enabled to transfer $250 million of its debt to TasNetworks.  All this debt is ultimately carried by the Tasmanian people.

The Treasurer has been in the job for two years.  It is truly cowardly to deflect blame and cite ancient history, when on his watch some highly questionable decisions have been made by Hydro, impacting on the State's energy security and making the Basslink crisis that much worse than it might otherwise have been.