News : Energy Company Axes Local Jobs And Sends Business Overseas
ENERGY company AGL is shipping Victorian jobs overseas, saying cost cutting will help curtail soaring electricity bills. The company is axing 155 back-office positions and sending billing and transaction processing to India and the Philippines.
AGL spokesman Nathan Vass said the overseas transfers mirrored moves by major competitors that would reduce costs for retailers and help cushion price rises for customers.
"At a time when there is significant upward pressure on electricity prices fuelled by increases in distribution and transmission charges, AGL is being proactive to limit the impact on its customers," a company statement said.
Mr Vass stressed that customer service in Australian call centres was not affected. Staff unable to be redeployed would be offered retrenchments with full entitlements.
AGL's jobs restructure comes after a recently upgraded profit expectation of $420-$430 million for the financial year to 2010. The company posted a $378.8 million net profit last year.
"Responsibility for billing and transactional processes which do not deal directly with customers will be transferred to service providers located offshore," the company said.
"As a consequence, a total of 155 permanent back office positions ... will no longer be required. AGL customers who call to discuss a billing or service issue will continue to speak to a customer service representative in an Australian-based customer service centre."
Meanwhile, Victorian households faced with paying $300 more for gas and electricity compared with 2008 may now have even bigger power bills as the State Government commits to increasing solar power.
Premier John Brumby yesterday unveiled plans to increase Victoria's total electricity supply from solar power to 5 per cent by 2020.
Every Victorian household will pay $5-$15 extra a year from 2014 just to cover the finances being offered for solar power companies to invest. Further set-up costs may be passed on to families through higher tariffs.
Mr Brumby said building five to 10 solar power plants in the north and west would be a boost for regional areas and generate up to $2 billion in new solar investment in Victoria. He said the initiative was a bargain deal in terms of acting on climate change. But Beyond Zero Emissions executive director Matthew Wright criticised the target as a drop in the ocean.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, Asia Pacific correspondent
Energy Retailer with 3.5Million customers across the Eastern Seaboard in Australia
Published: Monday, July 26, 2010