The state government has unveiled new information regarding the planned merger between Energex and Ergon Energy, with the move expected to create new jobs in Queensland.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt claimed the business deal would help boost efficiency across the state’s electricity network and generation facilities. The decision is forecasted to result in savings of approximately $680 million in the 2019-20 financial year, with a positive knock-on effect for consumers’ energy bills.
Describing the merger, Mr Pitt said: “A new company is expected to be in place by mid-2016, with the Energex and Ergon Energy brands remaining for the time being, and frontline staff continuing to deliver network services in their respective regions.”
According to the government, the Energex-Ergon merger will spawn a new energy services subsidiary, which will combine various parts of both companies, including Ergon Retail. Mr Pitt claimed the move would reduce administrative burdens, as well as management costs.
The energy business will be based in Townsville and generate 500 jobs in the region over the next 10 years. Ergon also has a history of offering apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities in Queensland, which could spell good news for people pursuing vocational education and training (VET) in Townsville.
“The new energy services business will look at options to utilise renewable technologies in regional Queensland, particularly in remote areas, to improve reliability and sustainability of electricity supply,” he explained.
No forced redundancies
Existing employees of Ergon Energy and Energex will also be happy to hear that the merger will not create forced redundancies. The government said the changes should offer new opportunities in regional areas as the organisation becomes settled.
However, it is not yet clear which types of role will be created or whether the new business will provide additional apprenticeships and traineeships in Townsville. Acting Energy Minister Leeanne Enoch claimed the state government is keen to lower the cost of living for Queenslanders, which is why energy efficiency should be made a priority.
“In October, we directed Energex and Ergon Energy not to challenge the final Australian Energy Regulator decision on revenues. This decision will provide consumers with greater certainty on network prices for the next five years,” she added.
Ms Enoch said the government’s merger decision prevents an Ergon-Energex sell-off to the private sector, which would cause price rises. Instead, the merger should lead to cheaper energy for consumers, while maintaining efficiency and operational capacity for the businesses.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator