As you do … on cheap electricity and a gas-led climate emergency.

The late, great John Clarke, together with fellow comedian, Bryan Dawe, explain Australia’s energy market. [Videos might only be available to Australian audiences.]

But don’t mention the planet.

You have to wonder if those companies with large long term contracts for electricity are paying proportionately much less than small users of electricity? It would make sense. Discounts for bulk purchases are pretty standard, aren’t they? I wonder if small users are thereby subsidising the big users? Do we know by how much? On top of that, the Australian government has committed $600 million to fund a new gas-fired power station to boost capacity when domestic demand and hence, gas prices. peak. As gas is expensive and government will want to reduce the budget deficit incurred from the pandemic (including clawing back the cost of its gas-led recovery investments), it doesn’t sound like future electricity prices will be minimised. Maybe this will just spur more businesses and individuals to go off-grid? That is likely to make it even more expensive for those who can’t afford to make that switch. It doesn’t seem to be a win for the hip pocket or the planet. Who does win then?

13 thoughts on “Reminiscing

  1. I just watched the videos. John Clarke and company couldn’t have done a better job of making the absurd seem rational–all the while keeping a straight face. As the old saying goes, “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.”

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    1. Johm Clarke was one of our finest satirists, Liz. His and Bryan Dawes’ ecplanation of our energy market is the clearest description I’ve heard, and their commentary on a particular brand of political reporting is also spot on.
      More Australiana for you.

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      1. Between your blog and Frank Prem’s, I’ve become quite interested in Australiana. Earlier this evening, I was wondering whether I had ever been assigned to read any Australian literature or history in K-12 or college. I can’t recall that I was.

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  2. “The government owns it – the Singapore government, the Chinese government” – He could probably have gone on for hours about possible owners. Yep, it’s how big business works – confuse everyone and raise the prices while negatively impacting people and environment. But it’s fair – you don’t have to use utilities, do you?

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    1. One day ill go off-grid, Sharon, but years ago I decided that for social equity reasons that I would stay grid connected for as long as I could. I believe we are all in this together. Fortunately our small territory sources all of its electriciy from renewables. It is complicated. The situation is a lot different from when I made that decision. I need to review.


  3. I was just offered a deal from my electric company to sign a 20 year contract to get my electricity from local solar. I’d like to do that, but when I saw the contract and saw that it would be yet another bill for utilities I didn’t want to. I sincerely doubt I’ll be alive in 20 years. I also want to simplify my life not complicate it with more automatic withdrawals from my bank (a requirement of the new offering). What I ended up NOT understanding is why my electric company didn’t execute said contract THEMSELVES but then I realized it would mean cutting their rates for people who live (as I do) near solar farms. THEY don’t want the complication. I could imagine the board meeting, “Well offer it to our customers and pass all this onto the consumer. They won’t want it so we can keep charging what we charge.” If I had seen clear evidence that it would be in my benefit to have gone through all that, I would have, but (obviously) it wasn’t presented that way. Clearly I have a very smart, very profit driven electric company that knows its customers. 😀

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    1. I guess that is because they employ a lot of people. It used to be that big business employed far more people than small businesses even though small businesses vastly out-numbered big businesses. I don’t know whether that is still the case. I’m not convinced by the claims that the private sector is necessarily more efficient than the public sector. There might be a slight tipping of the balance to workers if the other side gets in and maybe more support for environmental protection. Will it be enough? That, I don’t know.

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