NSW Labor says Essential Energy plans to cut a further 500 jobs from its workforce.
The job cuts are separate to 182 jobs insulated under an official NSW government directive issued last year by Minister for Energy Matt Kean.
Plans by Essential Energy to sack 500 workers by 2024 came to light late last year in a leaked document received by the Electrical Trades Union.
Essential Energy says it has been complying with the intent of the direction since the minister announced plans to issue a direction in August 2019.
"Now that the final direction has been issued we will continue to abide by the terms," an Essential Energy spokesperson said.
"We remain committed to lowering network charges while providing safe and reliable energy to regional and rural NSW.
"There are no plans to undertake a major program of redundancies immediately after the expiry of the direction in August 2020 and we are undertaking detailed work to understand additional ways to make savings.
"As we progress that work, we will continue to engage with the government and unions," the spokesperson said.
"We have already held constructive discussions with the relevant unions regarding specific programs, building employee capabilities and improving utilisation of existing resources."
Electrical Trades Union secretary Justin Page called on the state government to issue a "binding directive to halt all planned job cuts.
"What we now discover is that the directive issued to the publicly-owned company by Energy Minister Matt Kean only runs until August 20, meaning in six months time all those jobs and more could be lost.
"Essential Energy's plans to slash a further 500 jobs by 2024 are also not covered by that directive.
Matt Kean needs to put in place a binding directive to halt all these planned cuts, not just defer them for six months and hope the public won't notice.Justin Page
"Matt Kean needs to put in place a binding directive to halt all these planned cuts, not just defer them for six months and hope the public won't notice.
"Under the Liberals and Nationals, Essential Energy has nearly halved the number of workers who deliver reliable electricity to 95 per cent of the state.
"More than 2000 regional jobs have been cut since 2015, and unless the NSW government issues a permanent directive preventing further cuts that number could increase by another 682 in the next few years.
"As a publicly-owned company, Essential Energy should be run in the interest of the communities it serves, which means holding on to the highly-skilled regional workers responsible for maintaining and repairing the poles and wires network.
"The unprecedented bushfire season caused massive infrastructure damage, highlighting the importance of having skilled workers on the ground in regional communities to respond to natural disasters like fires, floods and storms.
"Instead of learning this lesson and boosting resources, Essential Energy wants to cut its workforce further."
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams has consistently campaigned against the job cuts and says Essential Energy should consider other cost saving measures.
"The NSW government has directed Essential Energy to halt the proposed job cuts," she said.
"I, along with the minister Matt Kean have asked Essential Energy to investigate other cost saving measures that can be found across their business.
"Any decision on whether to extend the direction beyond August will be considered once Essential Energy has completed this work.
The loss of some 500 jobs across regional New South Wales will be a devastating blow to the towns and communities which those workers call home, and the Nationals must be held to account for being complicit every step of the way.Yasmin Catley
Labor says the minister admitted in budget estimates hearings on Friday that some 500 jobs would be lost.
Deputy opposition leader Yasmin Catley said the state government was shamed into making a formal direction to Essential Energy not to go ahead with its plans to cut 182 jobs from its regional workforce, but the directive expires in August 2020 and only applied to the 182 jobs which had been slated for the first batch of redundancies.
"The loss of some 500 jobs across regional New South Wales will be a devastating blow to the towns and communities which those workers call home, and the Nationals must be held to account for being complicit every step of the way," Ms Catley said.
"Since 2012, the workforce at Essential Energy has nearly halved as more than 2000 jobs have been slashed, drastically reducing the number of skilled front-line workers available to respond to blackouts, storm damage, or other major incidents."
Shadow minister for energy Adam Searle said the government is continuing to slash jobs.
"At a time when the importance of frontline workers at our energy utilities couldn't be clearer, this government is slashing jobs and putting the reliability and safety of our electricity networks in jeopardy," he said.
Essential Energy operates electricity network services across 95% of regional and rural New South Wales.
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