Australian Politics – No, That’s No Plan For $250 Cuts In Power Bills

Posted on Tue 12/11/2012 by


Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Keith Orchison detects another false promise from Australian prime Minister Julia Gillard:

Julia Gillard could hardly be more clear about what she is promising – a $250 cut in the household power bill...

Gillard’s promise rests on four pillars.

The first is reform of the rules under which the Australian Energy Regulator considers power network bids for capex and opex. This is a highly complex area and what is being proposed by the review process is still short of being finalised…

Gillard’s pledge also depends on deregulation of retail energy prices – something … which governments in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart are reluctant to embrace…

The third leg of Gillard’s plan requires the roll-out of so-called smart meters and the introduction of time-of-use charges designed to make consumption of electricity very expensive between 2pm and 8pm and much cheaper at other times in an effort to lop the top off peak demand.

As pointed out last week by academic Lynne Chester, with whom I sat in 2011-12 on Martin Ferguson’s energy white paper reference group, how many households can or will shift 20 per cent of their power demand out of the 2pm to 8pm period?

If they don’t, under ToU pricing, their bills will shoot up…

Finally, there is prime minister’s much-hyped consumer challenge panel… The rub is that it is an advisory panel and the regulator is not required to accept its views…

Lynne Chester argues that what Gillard is proposing is not a plan to cut power bills but a Band-Aid: “a temporary cover to stem the political blood loss” – a view with which I agree.

And the “savings” don’t even include the massive cost of the smart meter roll out.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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