THE State Government needs to be up front with the people of NSW - and Essential Energy staff - over whether or not it can do anything at all about proposed job cuts.
A fortnight ago, this newspaper said that actions, not words were needed to restore confidence in the state's electricity network following revelations that around 500 Essential Energy jobs would be cut over the next five years.
And despite more tough talk from state politicians, nothing has changed on that front.
Deputy premier John Barilaro went on the front foot on Thursday when he issued a press release stating that: "After weeks of calling on Essential Energy to pull back on proposed job cuts in regional NSW, I am yet to receive a guarantee from the organisation that they will reverse this decision."
He went on to say the government had announced there would be no regional public sector job cuts and, "as a government body, Essential Energy is expected to follow suit".
It was stirring stuff, and just the sort of rhetoric we would expect to see around this issue, except that normally it would be an opposition MP jumping up and down.
What we had here was the second highest-ranking member of the government effectively slamming the government for going back on its promise and demanding more from the Minister for Energy and Environment - one of Mr Barilaro's cabinet colleagues.
Strange days, indeed.
The likely explanation is that Mr Barilaro and his Nationals MPs are starting to feel the heat from their constituents as the reality of these Essential Energy job cuts starts to hit home for regional communities that can least afford them.
Their response has been an attempt to deflect blame for the cuts elsewhere - anywhere else - while also trying to highlight the work they are doing behind the scenes to secure a better outcome.
But the crucial question remains unanswered: Does the government have the power to stop the job cuts or not?
Essential Energy clearly does not believe it has and appears determined to push ahead with its plans.
But if Mr Barilaro and the Nationals believe the government - their government - can stop the cuts, then they need to demonstrate it with results.
The time for talk had passed well before Mr Barilaro's press release on Thursday.