The boss of Essential Energy has received a big pay rise.
The boss of Essential Energy has received a big pay rise.

$117k pay rise for Essential Energy boss

THE chief executive of Essential Energy has been given a $117,000 pay rise, a move which has been slammed by the Opposition this morning.

Opposition Energy Minister Adam Searle said electricity company boss John Cleland's pay packet was now $882,076 a year.

"This comes at a time when households and small businesses are suffering from record high electricity bills,” Mr Searle said.

"Essential Energy is 100 per cent-owned by the NSW Government and distributes electricity to 800,000 customers across regional New South Wales.

"In the last year Essential Energy also cut hundreds of jobs.

"The massive 15 per cent pay hike is out of step with the movement of wages and salaries across the economies - which are almost stagnant.

"It is also breaches the Government's own 2.5 per cent wages cap which applies to teachers, nurses, police, ambulance officers and all other public servants.”

A spokeswoman from Essential Energy told the Daily Telegraph that the company appointed a new CEO in July 2016 on a "market-based remuneration package” determined by the Board in accordance with advice from an independent remuneration specialist and reflecting remuneration levels across the energy industry.

She said the improvement in Essential's financial performance in 2016-17 was a product of "the transformation and cost reduction” while generating revenue.

"The profit turnaround was driven by efficiency and productivity improvements.”

But Mr Searle said giving a "huge pay rise to an executive who has slashed the workforce and presided over rising prices for people doing it tough in the bush, is out of step with community expectations”.



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