Thursday, 13 December 2007

Iemma's mad "Power sell off" dream is a fraud.

Iemma's mad "Power Sell-off" dream is a fraud.
Tough words - but truthful.
Morris Iemma has proposed the sale and lease of the NSW Power generation and supply system. Supposedly this will bring about "windfall profits" to the State, which will use that money to provide "gifts" to the people, such as a new rail and road infrastructure. (I am old enough to recall how long the Eastern Suburbs railway was promised - before it was delivered. So, I will not be holding my breath. Anyway, the Government has not "built" new road networks in recent times, but has got the private sector to build them - so will this money actually be used to do what the Government promises? Or will we just end up with more toll roads anyway?) The whole scheme is a confidence trick on the public.

You can read the Sydney Morning Herald report here.

Hang on a minute.
What exactly is he selling, and why?

An obsolete coal-fired power generation system - at the same time as the Bali conference is taking place. And what is Bali telling us? The dangers of coal-fired power stations (amongst other things).

Surely we ought be planning to convert our old technologies to new "climate-friendly" technologies, like wind, solar and wave power.

When these issues have been raised, we have been told that they are unproven, or else too expensive.

So, what is happening? The Government is going to "party" while it can. Sell the gear. And leave us with what, exactly? Obsolete technology. We will end up with something approaching the disastrous state of East Germany's power system, at the time of the collapse of that decrepit State. And then we will be in the hands of the private sector, to build new, efficient power stations - if we can afford to pay the exorbitant prices they will want to charge us.

It is a hand over of sovereignty to the Private Sector, dressed up as a "bonus" to the community. It is a fraud on the public of NSW.

This is equivalent to the way the Government is allowing the destruction of our water harvesting system (the "Catchment") by coal mining companies, leaving the people to buy water from a French-led consortium, running the inefficient De-Sal scheme. Again a hand-over of our sovereignty (as well as being an environmentally disastrous policy).

Surely if there is money to be made, the Government ought be using that money to build new electricity generation equipment which is "green", or at least less environmentally damaging than what we have at present. I understand that gas-fired power stations are considerably less damaging than coal-fired power stations. And what about solar, or wind, or wave power?

The whole scheme is a nonsense - but the Media are getting in on the deal, planning how best to spend the money - without asking the real questions. What will we be left with?

Wake up, Australia (or the people of NSW anyway).


Miss Eagle said...

The best thing I can think to say is that it took them a bloody long time. But perhaps selling an obsolete coal fired power station is a good idea? Sell it and legislate its inability to burn coal at a later date?

But what do you think of what is being said in the last few days about Telstra, the Govt and Broadband? That perhaps we should never have sold Telstra or, if we did, it should have been done on a different model - like separating the wholesale & retail arms. But have I missed something? Isn't the Fed Govt still the largest shareholder with an appointee on the Telstra Board? So may be they can do something about that? Another decision for Kevin 07 to think hard about?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Miss Eagle
You raise a good point about the Power Stations. What is being sold is not the obsolete power stations themselves, but the CONTROL of the CUSTOMER BASE. Well, one ought be unsaleable, but it is only when you realise that, that you can see why a Multinational (or MacBank) would buy such a heap of junk. To get hold of us as "customers".

That's where the future is.

You have hit the nail on the head.
If they were to legislate the obsolescence of these power stations (as we ought be doing - in this BALI week) then they would have zero $ value.

Clearly that is not going to happen. Even though it ought happen.

You might have noticed that I referred twice to an attack on our SOVEREIGNTY - that's how I see this deal. One might suggest it is treasonous.

That brings me to your comment on Telstra. Same deal. I have not followed the commentary in the last few days on Telstra. You might email me, a link, please.

But the very same issues are at stake.

Back on the coal - did you notice the timing? During the Bali conference, and while Rudd, and Penny Wong are out of the country.

The NSW Government ought be sacked. But that is not going to happen. Is it a Labor Government? I don't think so! Pirates, more likely.


Denis Wilson said...

I have received the following comment from a colleague on an anti-coal-mining email list:
So now is the time for people to cease relying on the central power
grid system and put in their own renewable energy source. I have been on solar power for nearly 20 years.

The only thing affecting me from
the privatisation of the coal industry is the filthy new big
coalmines near my property that are feeding the generators and
exports as well as the impacts of climate change)


So there's a view from the neighbour of a coal mine.

Thanks for the comment


Denis Wilson said...

Two more comments, received via email.
(A) Yes, Iemma seems to have lost the plot.
(B) Yes I agree Denis. If the Gov't wasn't so incompetent about running things, there'd be no need to sell anything.

Thanks to all respondents. DJW

Denis Wilson said...

My Canadian friend Leo send me this email:

Hi Denis,
Gee, your guys are only just now getting around to this? Happened here long ago.

What they are actually doing is re-mortgaging your house with a loan shark, without actually using the proceeds to pay down your existing mortgage. So you are stuck with 2 mortgages on your house, one of which is going to cost you an arm and a leg as soon as the "low introductory trial rate period" is over.

The stuff they are selling off belongs to the taxpayer. It still has debt, and you can bet your life that the friends of the govt who buy it will not take over the debt or even that the price will be anywhere close to the book debt.

And one day in the not too distant future you will have insufficient power, so brownouts, plus frequent power interruptions every time mother nature sneezes.

Good luck, welcome to the American Century...

Cheers, but gloomily,
So, there is an international perspective on this issue. DJW

Denis Wilson said...

Mike McGirvin (a Robertson resident, and US ex=pat) has written about the same deal:

He has the experience of California to bear witness to.


Denis Wilson said...

I received another email response, from Brian Everingham, a fellow member of the National Parks Association (NPA). He wrote:
Regarding the sale of the NSW power system:

My own thinking is a little less black-and-white:

I believe that an efficient regulation of systems requires a separation of regulator and the product. Therefore, I have no theoretical objection to a sell-off of power (or, for that matter, quite a few other industries). Power is not a natural monopoly.
That said, a sell-off of obsolete systems prior to setting clear emission targets and setting transparent and accountable social and environmental benchmarks is a fraud on the tax-payer AND on the company/companies who is/are trying to buy the product. That means it is also a fraud on potential shareholders.

If that happens, then the most likely outcome IS, as Denis says, a system that embeds old, inefficient electricity generation for years to come.

My approach would be to get the regulatory regime in place. Call for the system of regulation to be put in place first, as a consequence of whatever comes out of the negotiations post-Bali, and then move to sell-off. Mind you, the price of the goods will decrease to reflect the inevitable increase in the price of electricity, whoever is the owner.

I think the government wants to get out before the price of electricity goes up so it won’t be blamed for that price rise.

This is my opinion – not the opinion of NPA. As far as I am aware, we have yet to make our position known.

Thanks Brian. One of my reasons for circulating that Opinion piece widely was in the hope of getting politicians and lobby groups (such as the NPA) to formulate their opinions, and express them widely.

Denis Wilson said...

Pru Goward MLA (NSW State Member for Goulburn)has also replied:

"My assessment is very similar, Denis!"

Denis comments, he looks forward to reading Pru's statements on this subject, in public, and in the NSW Parliament. DJW.