South Australia’s Wind Power Debacle: Supermarkets Sacking Staff, While Sales of Portable Generators Boom

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Reliable, secure and affordable electricity is one of those things that the last few generations of Australians have largely taken for granted.

Not so in Australia’s so-called ‘wind power capital’, South Australia. These days, Croweaters count their blessings if power is delivered at all and count their pennies every time they’re hit with a power bill that is magnitudes greater than the last.

With a power supply to rival Equatorial Africa and retail prices more than double their neighbouring states, South Australians are at wits end. The first article from The Australian deals with the crashing economic impact that South Australia’s rocketing power prices are having on business, while the second details the kind of DIY spirit that’s needed in a State obsessed with its attempt to run on sunshine and breezes.

Supermarket staff cut to absorb $2.5m rise in power costs
The Australian
Meredith Booth
10 February 2017

One of South Australia’s largest employers is cutting staff to absorb a $2.4 million, 50 per cent rise in electricity costs this year, as it met on the crisis with South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis yesterday.

Drakes Supermarkets owner Roger Drake, who operates 60 stores with 6000 workers as an independent grocery retailer in South Australia and Queensland, said he was slicing his labour budget to balance ballooning power costs while losing ground to Woolworths and Coles, which could amortise power costs across national operations.

“We’re cutting people, which is tragic, but we can’t get any more margin,’’ he said. “We are in a disadvantage to be able to compete with the major players … once the independent disappears in South Australia, it will be the end of competition as we know it.”

The $1 billion group, which has diesel generators at every store to counter failures, asked 11 power retailers in December to tender for supply but only three made an offer. It chose a one-year contract with Origin, resulting in its annual power bill rising from $5m to an expected $7m this year.

Mr Drake discounted an offer by Mr Koutsantonis to subsidise solar panels on Drakes stores because the company did not own every site. The only route to cheaper power was for the state government to take control of generation assets, he said.

Mr Koutsantonis told radio station FIVEaa the government was the state’s largest power customer and had gone to tender for a new supplier offering a 10-year contract to underpin a new competitor. “We informed AGL and Origin they’re not eligible to apply for this tender (which closed on January 6) … we want to make sure we get new generation … to compete with the monopolies that are behaving quite appallingly,” he said.

He blamed high gas prices with thermal generation “sitting idle” in the state as well as the “cartel” behaviour of major electricity retailers underpinning the highest power prices in Australia.
The Australian

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8 February 2017, was another of those days in SA when portable generators ceased to be an extravagance designed to light up a campsite in the bush and became a suburban ‘must-have’, essential to keep a few lights on and perishables from perishing.

In South Australia, this summer’s must-have accessory: a generator
The Australian
10 February 2017

sa-candles-family

Danny and Kelly Salamon bought a camp generator two years ago thinking it would power their lights for short camping holidays with their daughters.

But the couple, from Pennington in Adelaide’s northwest, have been relying on the 6 kilowatt generator to power their house during major blackouts.

The Salamons’ generator was on standby during Wednesday night’s forced load-shedding and again last night they were smack in the middle of the western suburbs earmarked by SA Power Networks for forced blackouts, if necessary.

Load-shedding, ordered by the Australian Energy Market Operator to protect the South Australian network, cut power to 90,000 households at 6.33pm on Wednesday — dinner time, when the mercury was still about 40C.

“It’s always a possibility that we’ll have more blackouts. If people are concerned they should consider getting (a generator) so as not to spoil their food, and you can get some cheap ones,” Mr Salamon said.

He blamed the state government and the AEMO for Wednesday’s blackout. “It’s a heat issue, but it’s someone’s fault: it’s both, the state and the regulator.”

With young daughters Aleisha, 7, and Mikayla, 9, Mr Salamon said the $600 generator was a worthwhile investment in the family’s safety.

During the September blackout, when violent storms tripped wind farms and the Victorian interconnector shut down, completely cutting power to South Australia, Mr Salamon used the generator for six hours to power the television, lights, cooktop and shower.

He is now careful to ensure there is always petrol in reserve for emergencies. “If we didn’t have the kids I wouldn’t have worried about it, but it was for their sake and we could have a shower and watch TV without sending them to bed at 5pm,” Mr Salamon said.

Wednesday’s load shedding happened when thousands of ­people were cooking dinner or looking for takeaways. Fulham Chicken Cave owner George Stamos had to turn away dozens of customers as power into his store dwindled after 4pm.

“We’re losing money and it’s not good enough,” Mr Stamos said. “I think it’s the state’s fault for selling off utilities. We need to live, we need to work, and why should we be paying extravagant amounts for electricity? Electricity companies should just cover costs instead of making a profit.”

Thousands of people flooded SA Power Networks’ Facebook page and other social media to voice their anger, questioning load shedding at one of the hottest times of the day. Many called for a halt to paying electricity bills, arguing they should not have to pay the nation’s highest prices if networks could not guarantee reliable power.
The Australian

sa-blackout-adelaide

Adelaide becomes portable generator salesman’s ‘Eldorado’…

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. In my early childhood, at my Grandparents home we used a kerosene lantern for lighting, a wood-stove for cooking and boiling water, with no hot water in the kitchen or bathroom, a wood chip heater to heat water for the bath, no showers to save water, vegies came from an extensive vegie garden out the back. Bread and milk were delivered by horse and cart and the outside dunny also with no water or power was tended by the night man who also used a horse and cart to replace the full dunny can. A Sunday drive all piled into the station wagon to the bush or farms had purpose as meals were supplemented with not only home grown fowl but also fish, eels or rabbits caught during these weekend day, family outings. Electricity and a phone were hooked up to the house but we were shown these things cost money and money could be spent elsewhere in a large extended family. Wind turbines have not saved the planet they are reversing progress when people are left without power or simple means to provide daily necessities of living which my beloved Grandparents were in a wiser and better position to cope with.

    • To add a further comment. This is an absolute mess, as those of us living next to turbines can see on a daily basis and up close, that turbines are not generating electricity because they are not turning or broken down. We witness wind developers continuing to claim there will be no, or are no problems at their wind farms, whilst continuing to throw us neighbours into the blade path, literally.

      • Crispin Trist says:

        I agree with your comments Melissa. For those of us living next to wind generators on a daily basis, it is all too obvious to see the machines shutting down. When the wind doesn’t blow, or even when it does, these machines can cut out on a regular basis. Unfortunately for the wind industry, their machines are so prominent in the landscape that this can be witnessed time and time again by any local resident or passing observer.

        Please find my most recent video link below. It features footage of the wind generators at Cape Bridgewater shutting down in high winds. It was shot handheld on a SONY CX110 camcorder. A ZOOM H1 stereo field recorder unit was used to capture the wind generator audio at the end of the video. This was recorded about 200-300m from the front of a 2MW wind generator at Cape Nelson on a public road.

  2. Terry,

    Once again, that comes back to media sources not properly informing the public of the greatest scam in Australian history.

    The greatest scam in the entire civilised world’s history.

    • schopenbecq says:

      “The greatest scam in the entire civilised world’s history.”

      You mean the second greatest scam in the entire civilised world’s history.

      • No I don’t. There is no bigger scam than CAGW, there never has been, although I don’t doubt that sometime in the future, someone will invent a better (more misanthropic) scam and convincing hoax to promote it with than this with an even more awful intent behind it… Sadly that is a trait inherent in a tiny few of us, yet still far too many. There will always be someone to smash the record of pure evil.

  3. Why is any of this a surprise! Has anyone asked Koutsantonis why the government didn’t see any of this coming? This is all surely predictable. Heywood’s going to close and that means what for an already stressed Interconnector. And this is the only thing that will keep the lights on next summer (and winter).
    Btw I bought a generator 4 months ago, have used it three times and i don’t have the resources of the government.

    • Jackie Rovensky says:

      I realize it is just a slip, but it’s Hazelwood coal plant which is closing, Haywood is where the inter-connector we have just paid to have ‘refurbished’ is to cope with all that Wind energy we are providing to Victoria, and we are now having to look down the barrel at paying millions for another inter-connector, which will be no good if the wind doesn’t blow and if Qld, NSW and Victoria all follow down the hole to despair we are in.

  4. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    And what is that stuff called that portable generators run on again?? Oh that’s right – fossil fuels!

    Greens and their feel-good, useless windmills. Creating hugely expensive, unreliable and unwanted energy causing a boom in Chinese made fossil fuel generators (using our demonised coal to make them of course!)

    Another great example of Greens and their feel-good intentions and insane policies that is “Killing The Earth To Save It”!

    You really can’t make this stuff up.

  5. Jim Hutson says:

    Once upon a time we had a reliable and affordable energy supply.Then we added wind turbines that only work sometimes. I wonder what went wrong?

  6. Terry Conn says:

    Amazing, that in the second story the interviewees didn’t think to consider the total failure of wind farms as a supplier of a reliable source of electricity as the cause of their problems! Once again, that comes back to media sources not properly informing the public of the greatest scam in Australian history.

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