Electricity Commission of New South Wales


Electricity Commission of New South Wales
A disused ELCOM transmission tower

The Electricity Commission of New South Wales, sometimes called Elcom, was a statutory body responsible for the generation of electricity and its bulk transmission throughout New South Wales, Australia. The Commission was established on 22 May 1950 by the Electricity Commission Act 1950 and its role was to take over power generation responsibility from the County Councils (such as the Sydney County Council) and the railways, who until that time were responsible for power generation and distribution. It acquired the power stations and main transmission lines of the four major supply authorities (Southern Electricity Supply, Sydney County Council, the Department of Railways and the Electric Light and Power Supply Corporation Ltd, known as the Balmain Company).[1] The commission was responsible for the centralised co-ordination of the state's electricity generation and supply.

Upgrading and Expansion of power station network

Between 1950 and 1960, the commission more than tripled power capacity, from 490 megawatts to 1800. At first, this involved completing the expansions of Bunnerong, White Bay, Balmain, and Pyrmont, and completing new stations already designed by the Department of Railways: Tallawarra near Port Kembla (1954), Wangi, at Lake Macquarie (1956), and Wallerawang, near Lithgow (1957).[2]

The Electricity Commission adopted the trading name Pacific Power in 1992.

In the early 1990s, Australian state governments began to deregulate state owned monopoly electricity commissions in order to promote competition, customer choice and potentially cheaper electricity.[3] In 1995, the transmission assets were split off into a new government organisation called TransGrid, and new distributors and retailers set up. In 1996, two new entities were split off - Delta Electricity and Macquarie Generation. In 2000, the remaining power stations were transferred to a new entity, Eraring Energy, and the consulting business sold to Connell Wagner. The privatisation of the State's electricity assets proposed in 1997 [4] began a long running controversy which extended well into the twenty-first century. On 15 December 2010, Origin Energy announced that it would purchase the retail divisions of Country Energy and Integral Energy from the Government of New South Wales, as well as entering a GenTrader agreement with Eraring Energy (in which Origin supplies fuel, pays certain charges, and can dispatch and sell electricity output, while Eraring Energy owns, operates and maintains the power stations).[5] Eight of the eleven electricity board directors quit in disgust just hours before the power sale was finalised by NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal in December 2010. The then Premier dissolved parliament immediately to stifle parliamentary debate on the sale and make it difficult for testimony before any subsequent inquiry to be covered by parliamentary privilege[6]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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