Three new names in NSW energy supply: Endeavour, Essential and Ausgrid
In the end, the sale of the three NSW electricity retailers went ahead on the 1st of March 2011 without much fuss at all. It turns out that the Sydney Morning Herald (and others) were wrong when they claimed in February that the sale was "grinding to a halt."
The deal was already done. Here's what it all means:
What exactly was sold?
There is untold confusion about what was actually sold.
Before March 1, 2011, we had three main names in electricity supply in NSW: Energy Australia, Integral Energy and Country Energy. The confusing part is that each of these three brands had two very distinct components:
- The retail arm - which sold electricity to households and businesses. The retailer bought electricity, paid network fees, added a margin and sent you a bill.
- The network arm - which maintained the electricity infrastructure. The network provider made sure the transmission and distribution network was operating to get power to your distribution board.
Back in 2008, the state government announced that they would "sell the retail arms of the three State-owned energy corporations". The network side of things (the poles and wires) would remain under state ownership.
They also committed to selling:
the seven power station development sites around NSW;
electricity trading rights of the nine State-owned power stations
Endeavour, Essential & Ausgrid for the NSW Electricity Network
Integral Energy and Country Energy's retail arms were sold off to Origin Energy. Energy Australia's retail arm was bought by TRU Energy.
To avoid confusion in the long run, the network side of these businesses had to get new names. Here's what they are:
Endeavour Energy replaces Integral Energy. The Endeavour Energy network area covers Sydney’s Greater West, the Southern Highlands and the Illawarra.
Ausgrid replaces Energy Australia. The Ausgrid network area covers most of Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter regions of NSW.
Essential Energy replaces Country Energy. The Essential Energy network area covers the rest of NSW, which amounts to over 90% of its land area (or about 800,000 homes and businesses).