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Actew Water set to change its name

Eighteen months and $2.5million ago, ACTEW Corporation rebranded  itself "ACTEW Water'' but  Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says it's a ''no-brainer'' the name of the publicly owned utility needs to change again.

Ms Gallagher made the comment on Tuesday after praising former ACTEW managing director Mark Sullivan's contribution to Canberra.

ACTEW Corporation provides Canberra's water and sewerage service, while the joint venture ActewAGL is responsible for electricity. The old ACT Electricity and Water organisation was once responsible for both.

Since July 2012, ACTEW has mainly traded under the name ACTEW Water. Mr Sullivan said at the time  the name change and bringing water and sewerage functions back in-house would cost about $2.5 million.

The utility expected to recoup that cost through no longer having to pay a 3 per cent margin on its capital works.

Asked about ACTEW's name, Ms Gallagher agreed it needed to change to help end public confusion between the water and electricity companies.


"It's really a no-brainer I think going forward for us,'' she said.

Possible new names included Canberra Water and ACT Water.

A review by former Victorian competition commissioner Bruce Cohen and public consultation had both indicated a name change was needed.

"People think ACTEW is ActewAGL and ActewAGL is ACTEW,'' Ms Gallagher said.

"There's a very clear [distinction] between those two organisations and we need to ensure the confusion around the name ... doesn't contribute to people's understanding of the way our energy [and water] utilities work.''

Ms Gallagher said the name could be managed "relatively cheaply'', but this would be a matter for the ACTEW board.

Dr Cohen also recommended in his review that major changes be made to the governance of ACTEW.

Mr Sullivan announced his resignation as ACTEW managing director on Monday after six years in the job.

John Mackay resigned as chairman of the organisation last year.

Ms Gallagher said Mr Sullivan had done a good job, successfully overseeing drought-proofing projects such as the Cotter Dam expansion. "No doubt it's been a challenging position but I think he's performed very strongly in it,'' she said.

Ms Gallagher said the government would accelerate the appointment of a permanent ACTEW chairman so the board could begin work on recruiting a new managing director.

"There's very good senior staff in that organisation to keep things moving along and the board has remained relatively stable for a number of years,'' she said.

On Monday, ActewAGL chief financial officer John Knox was appointed acting ACTEW chief executive; businessman and former union official Michael Easson is acting chairman.


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