Queensland power bosses have pocketed extravagant bonuses despite a surge in complaints by consumers over costs and supply.
Revealed by The Courier-Mail, Queensland’s state-owned power utilities paid their executives $1.1 million in bonuses during 2017-18.
This new information came as complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman soared by one-third, with 8838 complaints about prices and supply.
- Energy Queensland boss David Smales earned more than $1 million in salary and benefits including a $91,000 “performance payment’’
- Chief financial officer Peter Scott took a $65,000 bonus to earn $599,000
- Seven other executives shared bonuses of $268,000.
- Stanwell boss Richard Van Breda got a salary worth $858,000, including a $96,000 bonus.
- Four executives shared salary packages totalling $1.9 million, including $174,000 in bonus payments.
- Power generator CS Energy paid chief executive Martin Moore an $889,000 package, including a $77,000 bonus.
- Six other executives shared $190,000 in bonuses.
- Transmission network Powerlink paid chief executive Merryn York an $815,000 package, including a $65,000 bonus labelled an “at risk payment”.
- Another $100,000 was shared between five other executives.
- The public power utilities delivered a record $1.8 billion in dividends to Treasury during 2017-18 — $300 million over their target.
The Ombudsman forced power firms to repay $912,713 to ripped-off consumers.
Billing complaints rose 26 per cent to 3659, while provision complaints soared 237 per cent to 687 complaints.
Industry groups have been quick to denounce the bonuses.
Queensland Electricity Users Network co-ordinator Jennifer Brownie slammed the executive salaries.
“Huge salaries add to the cost of running the business and that’s passed on to consumers,” she said.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokesman Dan Petrie said rising power prices were costing jobs and sending small businesses broke.
“The No. 1 issue for business is the price of power — it is destroying profit margins and taking a sledgehammer to small business confidence,” he said.