Blame Games: Public Being Played for Fools About Surging Power Prices by Wind & Solar Lobby

‘Support’ for subsidised wind and solar exists because Joe Public has absolutely no idea how power is generated or what it actually costs.

In that respect, you’ve got to hand it to renewable energy rent seekers and their various propaganda wings: they’ve done a sterling job in taking a series of lies and myths and cobbling them together in a slick narrative which a substantial proportion of the public has swallowed hook, line and sinker.

It helps that there are plenty of useful idiots in the mainstream media who are ever ready to regurgitate whatever gets dished up by the Clean Energy Council, AGL, GetUp! and the like.

Twaddle such as there being an “inevitable transition” to all wind and sun powered future; guff about renewable energy being “cheap” and getting cheaper all the time; and claims that there is some enormous mega-battery just over the horizon ready to soak it all up and redeliver wind and solar power, for free, is merrily reprinted, as if gospel fact.

So, it’s little wonder that the general populace is incapable of identifying just why it is that their power bills have skyrocketed in the last decade (by the way, there’s a hint in Dr Michael Crawford’s graphic above).

Most voters blame privatisation for rising power bills
The Australian
Rosie Lewis
1 October 2018

Most Australians blame the privatisation of electricity resources for their increasing power bills but conservative voters say the use of renewables is the No 1 problem, according to new polling.

Research by the Brisbane-based Australian Institute for Pro­gress of more than 1000 voters found it was unlikely Australia would have certainty in electricity generation and supply “any time soon”, with a vast difference in what people attributed to rising electricity costs.

Nearly half of those polled — 47 per cent — said they were having more trouble paying for electricity this year than in previous years and privatisation of power was nominated as the main reason for more costly electricity bills by 36 per cent of those surveyed.

This rose to 55 per cent among Labor voters and 49 per cent for Greens voters, but only 15 per cent of Liberal Party supporters and 23 per cent of One Nation or Australian Conservatives voters.

Government mismanagement was the second-most significant factor at 22 per cent, followed by renewables at 14 per cent — ­although renewables was the most significant factor for Liberal voters (33 per cent) and One ­Nation and Australian Conservatives supporters (42 per cent).

“While electricity prices may be a potent electoral issue, voters are so confused about the causes that it will be very difficult for any government to persuade them of the cure,” Australian Institute for Progress executive director Graham Young writes in The Australian today. “A failure to argue the facts, and a ­desire to kick the renewables can down the road, is the problem.”

Voters were split on whether coal-fired power stations should be closed down “as soon as we can”, with 48 per cent agreeing and 42 per cent opposed.

Among Liberal voters, 79 per cent disagreed with the closure of power plants, while 77 per cent of Labor voters and 94 per cent of Greens voters agreed.

Subsidising renewable energy also split along party lines, with Labor and Greens voters vastly in favour and Liberal and other conservative voters against the idea.

“Most people would prefer to pay nothing more for electricity to decrease emissions, with Liberal and One Nation/Australian Conservatives being 80 per cent and 97 per cent in favour of paying nothing additional,” the research finds. “A combined figure of 80 per cent out of our sample would pay no more than $20 a month, or $240 a year. This figure is 67 per cent for Labor voters, 46 per cent for Greens voters and 85 per cent for others.”

Mr Young, who was vice-president and campaign chairman of the Queensland Liberal Party ­between 1994 and 1997, said this finding could be advantageous for the Morrison government.

“The one lever the government has is that most voters are not prepared to pay any more for their electricity in order to meet Paris accord targets than they do now,” he said. “Playing that card will not be easy when a huge number of people believe that renewables are the way to cheaper electricity.”
The Australian

Denmark and Germany top the European league table above thanks to the Dane’s obsession with wind power and the German’s obsession with wind and solar.

In Australia, South Australians pay the highest power prices in the world thanks that their equally unhinged obsession with sunshine and breezes.

Notwithstanding the obvious connection, the proletariat is having a hard time separating fact from fiction.

National energy debate – the facts were an early casualty
The Australian
Graham Young
1 October 2018

While electricity prices may be a potent electoral issue, voters are so confused about the causes that it is very difficult for any government to persuade them of the cure.

The problem is a failure to argue the facts and a desire to kick the renewables can down the road

The space has been filled by ­renewable energy lobbyists with a vested interest in pushing more unreliable renewables, which are a significant part of the problem, and virtue-signalling corporations trying to minimise trouble and maximise profit.

Both have pushed a line that is profitable for them and ruinous for the country.

It’s not just a problem for this government but one a Shorten ­opposition, which has contributed to the disinformation, will face should it win government.

The Australian Institute for Progress conducted online qualitative research this year into public perceptions of issues in power generation using a virtual focus group of 1257 respondents.

Forty-seven per cent of voters report difficulty paying higher power prices, so the issue is hot.

The main problem for good policy is that a large proportion of voters believes high power prices are due to privatisation, enabling corporate greed and facilitating private companies to game the system. They don’t blame renewables or network prices.

But many factors are to blame, including the increasing use of ­intermittent renewables and the gaming of the system by private companies and state governments. More privatisation and less concentration of ownership might have ameliorated these trends but they are certainly not the cause.

Across 10 years, household electricity prices have risen 35 per cent in real terms. The recent Australian Competition & Consumer Commission report allocates the blame to networks (35 per cent), wholesale electricity prices (22 per cent), ­environmental subsidies (20 per cent), retail costs (3 per cent) and retail margin (16 per cent). Renewables aren’t singled out but they are the whole of environmental subsidies and some portion of network and wholesale electricity costs, making them very significant.

Yet 54 per cent of respondents ranked privatisation as the first or second biggest cost factor, followed by government (47 per cent), profiteering (39 per cent), networks (32 per cent) and only then renewables (28 per cent).

There are marked differences between voting blocs: 75 per cent of Labor and 72 per cent of Greens voters say privatisation is the biggest problem, while 55 per cent of Liberal and 64 per cent of One Nation/Australian Conservatives voters say it is renewables.

But showing how hard the privatisation narrative has bitten, ­privatisation is accepted as a No 1 or No 2 problem by 29 per cent of Liberal and 35 per cent of One Nation/Australian Conservatives voters. In an area as ­partisan as this, when you don’t bring the home side with you, it is because you haven’t told them what the play is.

Then things get worse for the government. When you plunge into the qualitative research, it is clear that a large number of voters believes that intermittent renewables are the way of the future and that increasing them in the mix will lead to cheaper prices. That leads to the sample being split on coal-fired power, with 48 per cent wanting coal-fired power ­stations closed as soon as possible and 42 per cent opposing this, again with a heavy slant based on voting intention.

Most don’t appear to understand that not only is this not possible but the power system would be shot to pieces if it did happen.

The split means that keeping coal-fired power stations open may read well in a regional marginal seat such as Capricornia, but it won’t be popular in an inner-city marginal such as Brisbane, where electors won’t be able to understand what the fuss is about.

Another problem is the popularity of subsidies for renewable energy. They received majority support across the sample, with 56 per cent for and 31 per cent against, including 84 per cent and 89 per cent in support from Labor and the Greens, and even 24 per cent support from Liberals.

This is not good news for a government that needs to abolish them to stop overenthusiastic adoption of intermittents pushing prices even higher.

Power prices are not an issue that should have become hostage to politics, and they are not one that will be ignored in an election campaign.

Climate change is a key concern for left-wing voters, including many commentators, so it will be part of the campaign whether the government likes it or not.

That means Scott Morrison and his Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, actively have to engage, even though it may bring short-term electoral pain.

The one lever the government has is that most voters are not prepared to pay any more for their electricity to meet Paris Agreement targets than they do now.

Playing that card will not be easy when a huge number of people believe that renewables are the way to cheaper electricity, and where none of them believes any of the parties, other than their own, knows what it’s doing.
The Australian

In the articles above it’s evident that there is a solid proportion out there who are happy to blame their burgeoning power bills on privatisation.

It’s a line that often crops up when arguing the toss with South Australians, plenty of whom are too stupid to recognise the reason that they pay the highest power prices in the world. The answer to that conundrum is literally blowing in the wind.

And the claim that ‘privatisation’ is always and everywhere the culprit for rocketing power prices is done in by a little place called Queensland.

Queensland’s coal/gas-fired power generation assets and network distribution system are safely in public hands. And yet power prices are rocketing out of control in the Sunshine State, primarily because its cash-strapped and heavily indebted Labor government has been milking those assets for all they’re worth.

Queensland’s state-owned power firms’ profit bonanza
The Australian
Michael McKenna and Jared Owens
3 October 2018

Queensland’s state-owned power companies made an extra $269 million in profit last financial year to deliver a $1.65 billion dividend to the Palaszczuk Labor government.

As households and businesses struggled with record power bills, the state-owned generators and retailers exceeded profit forecasts for the 2017-18 financial year, sparking opposition claims of price-gouging by the government.

Energy Queensland, formed by a merger despite warnings from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, posted an $809m profit, up $197m on forecasts for its second full year of operation.

State-owned generator Stanwell, which produces 30 per cent of Queensland’s power, also reaped a $100 million premium on its profit forecasts to $490.8m. The windfall was despite the government being forced by industry last year to order Stanwell to pursue less profit after it charged massive wholesale prices on the National Electricity Market through its bidding practices over the previous summer. Company annual reports, released late yesterday, show the generators and networks will deliver a $1.65bn dividend to Palaszczuk government — a $584m jump on that collected by the Newman Liberal National government in 2013-14, its last full year in office.

Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the dividends would fund a government pledge to keep price rises below ­inflation for two years. It will also fund a $50 annual payment to households, and other “rewards” for customers who pay bills monthly.

“Over 90 per cent of the dividends or profits received from Queensland’s publicly owned energy businesses in 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be invested back into energy affordability measures for electricity consumers,’’ Mr Lynham said. “The Palaszczuk government will spend almost half-a-billion dollars to subsidise the cost of electricity for around 700,000 consumers in regional Queensland, so they pay a similar price to those in southeast Queensland.” More than $200m will go to concessions, rebates and assistance programs for vulnerable customers.

Liberal National energy spokesman Michael Hart accused the government of imposing “a secret tax’’ on households and businesses. “Annastacia Palaszczuk is using Queensland energy users like cash cows, ripping massive profits and dividends from government electricity entities,’’ he said.

In July, an ACCC report called for the state government to split and privatise the state-owned generators to cut prices. It blamed increasing market concentration, particularly with the state-owned companies, for a rise in power prices in recent years. The two state-owned generation companies, CS Energy and Stanwell, supply 66 per cent of the state’s power. The government and state opposition rejected the ACCC proposal.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said last night: “The Queensland government is profiting from the electricity bill shock to every Queenslander.”
The Australian

What, you thought only evil corporations screw power users?

 

Then there’s the consequence of rocketing power prices for households, businesses and whole industries.

The sugar industry has been the cornerstone of Far North Queensland’s agricultural success for generations.

Now, it too, is under mortal threat, as power prices surge.

Queensland Nationals MPs demand action for ‘struggling’ sugar industry
The Australian
Rosie Lewis and Jared Owens
2 October 2018

Queensland Nationals MPs have demanded the state and federal governments take immediate action to help Australia’s “struggling” sugar industry by reducing electricity costs for canegrowers, amid a stoush with India over its hefty subsidies paid to its cane farmers.

Urging the governments to put aside political differences and deliver “sugar industry salvation”, Nationals MPs Keith Pitt and Ken O’Dowd called on Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to “put his weight behind a call” for Trade Minister Simon Birmingham to launch World Trade Organisation action against India.

Australia has warned India that unless it cuts subsidies paid to its cane farmers that have led to a massive sugar glut and record low prices on world markets, it risks being reported to the WTO.

“Sugar growers are caught in the perfect storm at the moment with India dumping millions of dollars’ worth of subsidised free sugar onto the world market, sending the price into free fall at the same time that drought related water issues and massive energy costs are causing local sugar production costs to skyrocket,” Mr Pitt said.

“A rules based trading system is only good for Australia when everyone plays by the same rules.”

Global sugar prices have hit a 10-year low in the past two years, turning Australia’s $2 billion export sugar industry into a $1.4bn sector, rendering its 4100 growers unprofitable and souring the industry’s long-term future.

The Nationals MPs said the Queensland government could reduce power costs for food and fibre power users by 33 per cent.

“The state government can intervene right now on power prices which could just keep growers’ heads above water until the WTO can undertake the longer process of bringing India back into line,” Mr Pitt said.

“And if the state won’t act then Minister for Energy Angus Taylor should implement the ACCC recommendation on tariffs and force Queensland to do the right thing.

“I know canefarmers here in Bundaberg who are paying over $100,000 per quarter for electricity but with sugar selling for around 10 cents a pound they are asking themselves when do they just give up flogging a dead horse.”

In a statement last week the canegrowers industry said it did not want subsidies or handouts but for the federal government to “roll its sleeves up” and partner with other affected countries to call India to account before the WTO.

According to Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri, the global price of sugar plunged to below 10 US cents per pound following news India’s industry was getting the equivalent of a $850m assistance package, including help to export its subsidised sugar.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state government had already begun issuing rebates to companies harshly affected by power prices “and especially (for) those companies working out on the land”.

“We are putting downward pressure on power prices (and) we are stabilising the market,” Ms Palaszczuk said in Brisbane.

Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham’s spokeswoman said farming and irrigation customers had been exempted from tariff rises this year.

“We provide bill relief for drought-declared irrigators, and assistance for agricultural and large customers to minimise their electricity use,” she said.

“Against a record of a 43 per cent increase in power prices in Queensland on the LNP’s watch, Mr Pitt’s comments are laughable.”

Senator Birmingham said the government would “continue to fight for our farmers” and was working with like-minded nations to ensure India understood the “high levels of global dissatisfaction with their damaging sugar subsidies”.

“Our discussions are fully exploring our options within the WTO system, which we have made clear in our representations to Indian officials,” he said.

Mr Littleproud, from the National Party, added: “I’m well aware of the impact on our sugar growers and had discussions with Minister Birmingham three weeks ago. I’m confident he’s making progress in the best interests of our growers.”
The Australian

Rocketing power prices mean yet another
Australian industry is set to go up in smoke.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Ertimus J Waffle says:

    Keating and labor started the rot when they forced the states to sell off their utilities back in the 1980’s. What was once a cheap reliable and well organised public owned utility in every state was sold off to in some cases the lowest bidder. Billion dollar power stations sold for a few million dollars to foreign carpet baggers who couldn’t believe their luck at finding a bunch of mugs in the world like Australians and their governments. Like when Keating wanted to sell off Telstra he spun the same vomit that no government in the world owned their countries communications system and the leftwing media let him get away with it because they don’t know their nose from their arsehole. And the right wing media representing the media barons and their banker mates just wanted a piece of the electricity monopoly. Now with the electricity system in Australia and average Australians stupidity the once best reliable and cheapest generation system in the world will be brought to it’s knees and replaced by a system constructed by the Dick Smith’s of the world and Hans christian Andersen. Good luck Stralia to quote a well known description “Australia your standing in it”.

  2. Politicians of all breeds love ‘our’ money.
    They use ‘our’ money to throw it away on ‘feelgood’ schemes that are useless to everybody. The MSM are complicit in this in that they accept press releases as gospel, basically because most so-called journos in MSM are lazy and inept socialists.

    Voters are also not innocent. If they actually did just a little bit of research they would better understand the plague that is renewable energy. It is a great big money pit with no end in sight.

    The experiment should start and end in South Australia. Disconnect the interconnector, let them try to survive on their own power for 12 months. In theory they have enough wind power capacity to power the state plus some left over.
    And apparently it is cheap and getting cheaper.

    Renewable energy zealots will destroy this country in their delusional attempt to power the country with mother nature and its variability.

  3. Sarcastic Cynic says:

    “Played for fools”? No! Willing participants.

  4. Charles wardrop says:

    We are fed the same sort of scandalous cr@p in UK and our politician-dopes are not telling us as it is, tho some of them must know, whilst others hope it will seem a virtue!

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