The Big Steal: ‘Green’-Left Lobby GetUp! Ripping $Millions Off Gullible Power Consumers

Oh, the irony. GetUp!, a hard-green-left lobby group, renowned for running vitriolic viral campaigns by email and social media, has just been caught out helping to rip off unwitting power consumers, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

GetUp! has been in the news lately over the sources of its murky financial backing, with questions being asked about wads of cash sent its way from Labor Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten prior to the last Federal election. The hundred thousand or so used to shore up Labor’s electoral prospects has paled into insignificance, compared with the $2 million GetUp! pocketed for directing gullible virtue signalers to a crowd called Powershop.

Powershop presents itself as the only electricity retailer that can supply 100% renewable power to hopeful wind and sun worshippers. And GetUp! helped pump the ruse by promising its followers that they were getting precisely that.

Problem is that the bulk of the electricity generated in Australia comes from coal-fired plant, with most of the balance from gas and hydro. On average wind and solar add a few percent to the mix. However, at midnight on a calm night, wind and solar add nothing.

So, those looking to strut their ideological stuff might be a little bit disappointed to learn that – despite signing up to pay well over the market price for their power – GetUp! and Powershop have been truly gilding the lily about where all those presumably groovy green watts are coming from.

While GetUp!’s share of The Big Steal for its spotter’s fee is in the order of $2 million, Powershop has been fleecing at least 20,000 wannabe eco-warriors for a whole lot more than that.

Getup!’s $2m deal on ‘dirty’ energy
The Australian
Brad Norington
29 August 2017

GetUp! claims to have helped 20,000 members switch from Australia’s “dirtiest” electricity retailers to green energy by referring them to a rival company, des­pite the rival admitting it has no idea where its power comes from.

The activist group was paid more than $2 million in exchange for referring members to online retailer Powershop, promoting it as “backed by a 100 per cent ­renewable energy company”.

GetUp! has used the $2m — about $100 for each member ­referred — to campaign against Powershop competitors Energy­Australia, AGL and Origin, which GetUp! calls “the dirty three”.

Powershop, wholly owned by New Zealand firm Meridian ­Energy, buys electricity from the national power grid in the same way as its “dirty” competitors. The bulk of Powershop’s electricity, often all of it, is sourced from coal-fired power stations because renewable energy from wind or hydro power can only service just over 15 per cent of the market at full cap­acity, and downtime is common.

Urging members to dump their energy company, GetUp! guarantees Powershop is “ranked the greenest energy retailer” and “Australia’s only carbon-neutral provider”. Critics of GetUp!, including Green Left Weekly, claim the activist group has perpetrated a myth, confusing consumers wooed to Powershop because most of the renewable energy from an alleged “100 per cent renewable power generator” is on-sold to other retailers as well. The $2m GetUp! earned from Powershop is on top of donations since its inception in 2005.

A spokesman for GetUp! ­national director Paul Oosting said the group was transparent about the source of Powershop’s electricity, making it clear the energy came from the national grid, which included a “mix of renewable and non-renewable energy”.

Mr Oosting’s spokesman, from public relations firm Essential Media, said the implication no carbon was offset by GetUp!’s campaign to help Powershop and attack other retailers was “not true”. He said Powershop offsets emissions from its operations, and its customers’ energy usage, by using UN-accredited certified emission reduction certificates.

The Australian Energy Council’s general manager of policy, Kieran Donoghue, told The Courier-Mail last week that activist groups such as GetUp! “compromised their integrity” by entering into a commercial arrangement with Powershop, and then campaigning as a supposed independent commentator by “bad-mouthing” competitors.

Meridian, the owner of Powershop, owns wind farms in Australia — the renewable component of electricity it generates. Green sceptics point out Meridian sells most of its renewable energy certificates to other retailers in the power industry.

In a blog for consumers, Powershop says it has been frequently asked since its launch “where does my power dome from?” Powershop continues: “The short but somewhat unhelpful answer is no one knows!”

According to Powershop, ­engineers and economists would “love” to be able to track the path of electrons around the electricity system, but it is not possible.

“In simple terms, all generators sell their energy to the Australian electricity market, the wholesale market. What this means is all retailers are selling customers energy that is purchased from the wholesale market, whether or not they also generate power.”

Mr Oosting’s spokesman did not respond to a question about whether GetUp! had concerns about Powershop‘s 52 per cent ownership by the New Zealand government. The GetUp! spokesman launched an attack on NewsCorp, publisher of The Australian, saying its “competing consumer campaign” One Big Switch was based solely on cost.
The Australian

The coal came from trees, and trees are renewable, so ..

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    It’s was tried by the energy companies some years ago – offering people if they paid a little more for the electricity they could have it from ‘renewable’ sources. The gullible paid extra and got the same electricity as the rest of us.

  2. Its just classic rainbows and unicorns thinking. I pay this wonderful organisation a premium and they make my power green regardless of reality. I saw one commentor on reneweconomy saying that it would be a special kind of stupid protesting about renewable power issues in Canberra when they were 100% renewable. I think the special kind of stupid was his if he thought he was plugged into anything but the standard NSW grid mix.

  3. Who can frame an adequate critique of this attempt at fear-mongering:

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