The energy & utilities industries have seen a movement away from government control to a mix of privatised and corporatised entities facing competition in the energy section and a water section that is a mix of State corporatised authorities, private-public partnerships, private water and sewerage treatment plants and local government water authorities/departments.

The USU is a major union in the NSW energy industry.

The occupations of USU members cover the range of occupations within the modern energy industry.

Members also work in corporatised authorities and private sector energy companies.

The changes taking place within the Australian energy industry are a reflection of worldwide trends, international ideas, international companies, and the global economy.

The USU has been part of the water industry for the past 100 years ago.

With the changing environment in the Australian water industry, along with the movement towards competency based training, the Union has gained recognition for members, job security, better rates of pay and conditions of employment along with portability of training for members.