Electric 'shock' for Winsome owner
By ZOE SATHERLEY
WINSOME Hotel owner Dallas Bayly has suffered an 'electric' shock.
Country Energy has told him it will cost $60,000 to connect the electricity to the upper floors of his hotel.
There is not enough electricity available in the street to meet the increased load demand if he wants to operate an upstairs restaurant and accommodation suites.
The blow has meant a double whammy for the Sydney businessman who has just moved to Lismore and spent close to $1.5 million purchasing and renovating the Winsome. He is still reeling from seeing floodwaters swamp the lower floors of the hotel, filling the cellar and storage areas, causing thousands of dollars of damage.
Mr Bayly said he was shocked by the unexpected slug from Country Energy who had told him he had to contribute to an electricity sub-station to increase the available power in Bridge Street.
"In a city you just expect that there will be enough power to meet the needs of business and industry," he said.
"This is a terrible disincentive to anyone who wants to come in and develop a business.
"I've never heard of anything like it."
Country Energy spokesman Mike Hely said Mr Bayly was only being asked to contribute two-thirds of the cost of upgrading the electricity supply.
"We recognise other people may benefit from the increased power supply in the future, so we will meet one-third of the cost," he said.
Mr Hely said Country Energy had a 'user pays' policy towards commercial and industrial cus- tomers.
My Bayly said he had offered to pay off the cost over a period of five years but that this was not acceptable to Country Energy, which he thought was unreasonable and unfair.
Mr Hely said it was not company policy to negotiate time payment arrangements.
"It wouldn't work if we did business that way," he said.
But Mr Bayly said this response was not good enough.
"In a first-world country, water and power are fundamental to any business," he said.
"Perhaps Country Energy and the government that has privatised this entity should have a real think if they want business to develop and contribute to employment and the economy."