ACCC says it’s OK for big utilities to exploit market power

“Climate proof” the West’s power grid, or the region’s utilities may not be able to generate as much electricity, according to a new study.
Credit: David Kingham/flicker
“Climate proof” the West’s power grid, or the region’s utilities may not be able to generate as much electricity, according to a new study. Credit: David Kingham/flicker
Image: David Kingham/flicker

If the South Australian government and energy consumer thought they might get some help from competition regulators to keep a cap on wholesale electricity prices, they are going to be disappointed. The chief regulator says he has no problems with them exercising their market power.

Electricity prices soared in South Australia in late June and July, a result of soaring gas prices, high demand, interconnector repairs and bidding pattern of the few generators that control the market.

Reports from RenewEconomy contributor David Leitch, the Melbourne Energy Institute and the Climate Council have all pointed to price gouging and a huge increase in margin by the big market players, particularly AGL Energy which has a dominant position in the local market.

That’s all OK for Rod Sims, the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“I think the energy market does allow people when they’re in that position to price they way they want. That’s how the market works,” Sims told an energy users’ conference in Melbourne, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“It’s not illegal to use your market power. We should never criticise people for using their market power, because you and I would do it as well,” Sims said. (Ed: Um, isn’t that what the ACCC is supposed to regulate?).

Indeed, the ACCC forecast exactly this outcome in 2007, when it allowed AGL to purchase both the Torrens A and Torrens B gas generators near Adelaide (collectively known as TIP), giving the company control of around 80 per cent of average demand in the state, in addition to its 70 per cent share of the retail market.

In it assessment, the ACCC said owning Torrens would give AGL the the ability and incentive to “bid strategically” and raise prices in the wholesale market significantly. It allowed the purchase, and that is exactly what AGL did.

In a report on major price pikes that occurred soon after that purchase, in early January 2008, the Major Energy User group said the ability of TIPS to set prices at both ends of the supply chain gives AGL “an exceptionally dominant” position.

“This allows the raising of pool prices above competitive levels to maximize revenue. It also allows the raising of retail price contracts and the costs of hedge contracts with competing retailers and large customers.”

The ACCC report into the TIPS purchase also noted that AGL had the ability, because of it market dominant position, to influence the local pricing regulator’s decisions on retail tariffs. And it could use its position in the wholesale market to lift price and pass them on to consumers.
Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.57.47 AM
As the Australian Energy Regulator noted in a report released on Thursday briefly analysing the winter price spikes across Australia, such events were common before the build out of wind and solar in many states, particularly in South Australia.
It noted that this year’s price spike were a result of an unusual confluence of events – high gas prices caused by surging demand and supply bottlenecks, repairs on the inerconnector, the absence of significant amount of coal generators (repairs, maintenance and unexpected outages) and some gas generators (not enough profits to run).
Ironically, when the advent of wind and solar in South Australia in significant numbers pushed the wholesale price down, AGL argued that the method of assessing wholesale price costs should be changed to the long run marginal cost of generation. It won, after threatening to pack up its business and leave the state.

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This graph from the AER also points to the contribution of “rebidding” to the jump in wholesale prices. Note the red line in early 2015, which is Queensland, an event that the Queensland Productivity Commission noted added $170 million to market cost due to the bidding behaviour of a few government-owned generators.

The latest bidding in South Australia, reports last week noted here and here, resulted in a huge increase in margins and an additional $170-$190 million in revenue, at the cost of any poor user or small retailer that was not properly hedged.

AGL has defended its actions, and Origin Energy, the other big player in the market, has said that what happened in the South Australia market was entirely normal, and perfectly predictable.

And, although the AER has yet to produce its reports into the three really high prices events, when average prices over a 30-minute period soared to as high as $9,000/MWh, it all seems good with the competition regulator.

Even though the ACCC anticipated the reduction in competition in South Australia’s energy markets nearly a decade ago, and identified the market power it could hold over both the wholesale and retail markets, it waived through the purchase of TIPS in any case.

The Major Energy Users were damming, noting that it was then nearly impossible for big energy users to obtain contracts from retailers, and they were exposed to those big spikes in spot prices. It said the ACCC decision was wrong and based on “incorrect data or inadequate analysis.”

“Effectively, TIPS used its undoubted position of market power in the supply arrangements and the Rules to their maximum benefit, in order to create an apparent shortage of supply. Whether this was done through strategic bidding, or even rebidding, the TIPS approach is unique to it, due to its dominance as the largest generator in the SA region.

“This approach by TIPS is analogous to any supplier in the market attempting to drive up prices. If the supplier can effectively create an artificial shortage of a needed product with no scope for demand responses then by doing so, it can drive prices up.”

It asked the ACCC and the AER to “implement actions to prevent AGL/TIPS from repeating its use of this undoubted market power in the future.”

They didn’t, and they seem fine with that. To add insult to injury, Sims is now pretending it’s the fault of renewables, even though the issues of market power were identified a decade ago before much had been built.

According to the AFR, Sims quoted “studies” that suggested that once renewable got to a certain level in a market “it causes issues”.

The AFR quoted him saying the rapid expansion of renewable wind and solar energy in South Australia had created problems for traditional fossil fuel generators because it came onto the market at zero cost, and some players had sold their gas to Queensland’s liquefied natural gas industry.

“There’s just less players around. And those people left standing may well have contingent market power because they’re needed at certain times,” Sims said.

That will be no comfort to the South Australian government or energy consumers. The issue is competition, and the sooner a new interconnector can be built and/or market rules re-written that provide a market incentive for faster, cheaper and clean technologies to replace the ageing, slow response gas generators currently in the market, the better.

The issue, we are told, was raised at the energy ministers forum in Canberra last week, many of whom were concerned that electricity markets were being “held hostage” by a small number of gas-fired generators.

The South Australia minister lamented the fact that the biggest and dirtiest plant in the grid (TIPS) should be rewarded in current market conditions.

More tellingly, the ministers lamented how poorly served the energy markets were by the regulators, who either could not see the pace of technology change (in the case of the AEMO, which said battery storage was up to two decades away), were too slow to react (the AEMC), or had no bite (the AER).

As RenewEconomy has noted on many occasions, these are not the only regulatory weaknesses, which are particularly exposed in state based regulators view of electricity pricing and the contribution to solar. The ACCC seems to have reinforced that point: consumers are being failed again.



47 responses to “ACCC says it’s OK for big utilities to exploit market power”

  1. MaxG Avatar

    What I am saying all along: free market = free reign for corporations; why any public asset should never be (or have been) sold. No sold asset = no regulator required for it either.

  2. Nick Thiwerspoon Avatar
    Nick Thiwerspoon

    What the SA government should do is bid for contracts in the same way the Canberra government is doing and simply exclude AGL and Origin from the auction, on the grounds that they already have excessive market power. With any luck, someone will bid to build a CSP plant at Port Augusta. And if AGL and Origin threaten to leave the State, well farewell and so long. The SA government can offer to buy their businesses at bargain basement prices.

    1. Chris Fraser Avatar
      Chris Fraser

      Mr Sims hasn’t made me see the difference between having market power, and abusing it. Seems to me that one of them naturally follows the other …

      1. Nick Thiwerspoon Avatar
        Nick Thiwerspoon


  3. Cooma Doug Avatar
    Cooma Doug

    The technology is available now to turn it on its head. Load side energy management is the answer. Political denial of this is the problem.
    At the moment my neighbour across the road is paying 48 cents a kwh. The generators on the grid pocket 4.5 cents.

    There are some lifters and leaners here.

  4. Daniel Avatar

    Are there particular times of the day the price spikes occur?

  5. Mark Roest Avatar
    Mark Roest

    It may be important to find a way to establish a legal right to equivalency on the distributed supply side. I’m starting with the idea of turning these words against the utilities, as in what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and turn and turn about is fair play:

    “I think the energy market does allow people when they’re in that
    position to price they way they want. That’s how the market works,” Sims
    told an energy users’ conference in Melbourne, according to the Australian Financial Review.
    “It’s not illegal to use your market power. We should never criticise
    people for using their market power, because you and I would do it as
    well,” Sims said.

    And as in, two (or 2 million) can play this game!

    Combine home and business storage (use reverse auctions, with rigorous qualifying criteria that are technology-neutral, and set the opening bid at $200 per kWh (plus import duty fees, if any) for storage), and also work with a group of energy system management companies which aggregate demand response capacity and bid it into the wholesale market, but will follow the customer’s priorities, such as top priority goes to charging the electric car (most economic value by far), next priority goes to meeting important uses (like keeping the lights and computers running happily), then to cooking (with suggestions to owner as to when the lowest rates apply in a given window defined by the owner), then to other things people do in the home, and which can schedule water heating, washing clothes and dishes, space heating, etc. for lowest net cost, and non-interference with car-charging (which could also be scheduled to make everything else work as well as possible, within the acceptable charging window based on owner needs — and maybe on needs for revenue generation, similar to autonomous Uber and Tesla plans).
    Foster competition among several companies to out-perform in all of these areas — and keep the barriers to entry low by having universities like U Tech Queensland provide the core research to anyone who wants to compete.

    1. neroden Avatar

      In what sense is it “not illegal”? The existence of the ACCC and AER are precisely because it IS illegal to abuse your market power, if I’m not mistaken!

  6. Steve Fuller Avatar
    Steve Fuller

    Markets are often good at achieving the efficient allocation of goods and services. When markets fail, particularly when essential services like electricity are concerned, intervention by regulators are used to deal with the failure – except when fossil fuels are involved.

    1. Daniel Avatar

      I don’t want to anger anyone, though at this period of history I think it’s best to accept not argue against hegemony. If we do that, options to redress the injustice are narrowed, however the likelihood of finding effective strategies to redress the injustice are enhanced.

  7. howardpatr Avatar

    ACCC – most of the time it is really a bit of a joke.

  8. Daniel Avatar

    Elsewhere I’ve argued it’s only financially viable for the mainstream to use batteries to primarily get off the grid during the daytime and reduce their evening peak usage. Whereas that’s my position for individual households and business premises, I have no idea of utility level costings at all. Whatever SA does, I think the prime criteria for action should be sidestepping institutionalised hegemony now and for the future. The use of batteries at a utility level now, would seem to depend upon if the price spikes are relatively short in nature (hours or a day) or relatively long (days). Does anyone have the above data?

    1. neroden Avatar

      Honestly, right now I’m totally OK with having backup NG-powered generators for the “three days of clouds” scenario, which only happens a couple of times a year.

      1. Daniel Avatar

        Even with zooming in on the graph I can’t read it so unsure exactly what the price spikes are. I think I’ve read SA is sometimes powered 100% by renewables in summer, which may mean they are short on power in winter (like my house). If this is so, PV is so cheap they could keep moving ahead with that, which is my intention too when I create the roof space. You seem to like talking utility level, whereas I think its more relatable bringing everything back to a small scale level, so all of us can understand it. Once renewables are adequately fitted out to power winter, then the problem comes back to storage implementation to deal with winter evenings and heating. Based upon my house, I’d guess SA’s long term problem would be more heating than cloud because cloud can easily be accommodated for by installing additional renewable energy, whereas heating in winter with electricity, and charging cars, may need a large battery.

  9. Ian Avatar

    In the end it is those very antagonists who are setting themselves up for disruption and failure. The higher market price fixing only makes it more viable for the early adoption of alternatives and alternative thought. Industrial users will either innovate or leave (unfortunately). Those that are able to move fast enough will survive.

    1. Daniel Avatar

      It would be very easy for larger businesses to leave if their electricity use is mainly while the sun is shining. Even working into the evening a bit after dusk, would be reasonably easy to deal with for a modest sized battery system.

      1. Ian Avatar

        Some effectively did that soon after the TIPS purchase with their own installation of Co-Gen systems. The one thing that people lose sight of is the requirement for heating for industrial processes. That is not as easy to solve as the electricity riddle.

        1. Daniel Avatar

          Are you talking about space heating or heating for industrial processes like melting metal? I would have thought solar/storage could easily deal with space heating because I sort of can during the day with a 1.5kW PV array and that’s only 6x solar panels. Admittedly that’s only heating the lounge room and a study. Larger scale PV/storage is so much cheaper. As you say, adding wind, or dual sourced renewable energy must be cheaper and more effective again.

          1. Ian Avatar

            The whole thing is a balancing act between process heat load and site electricity demand. The choice of Co-gen integration depends on the process and of the available fuel. Renewables can play a part in that with the correct integration. Co-gen units can also allow for some export at peak times to bring down the price somewhat. The size of the influence is also dependant on the generator category as defined by AEMO market regs.

            WWTPs, for instance, require a modest heat input for the amount of fuel available. In that case it may be feasible to use piston engines. Other processes have a high temperature thermal load that requires the use of a turbine and/or steam boiler and maybe some chilling as well through tri-generation.

            Can this fuel be supplied with renewables? Yes, at a cost and often with significant challenges (i.e. hydrogen burns too fast for a turbine and makes steel brittle).

            Also, HVAC can be time shifted by making ice during excess supply periods and will continue cooling at a higher efficiency during peak times. Ice slurries and hydrates are another interesting topic too.

          2. Daniel Avatar

            Yes with the “balancing act between process heat load and site electricity demand”, all that happens on a small scale is the inverter/charger typically has a maximum power that can be drawn from the grid (e.g. we can think of a caravan park socket or marina) and then it has to get the rest of any power needed from a battery. Thus if the yacht air con needs 20A and the marina can only supply 10A, then the other 10A has to come from the battery. The moment the air con is switched off or turned down, the inverter/charger can then automatically put the whole 20A from the marina back in the battery. Added to this we could have wind power and PV. So the job of the inverter/charger is to ensure the AC loads are supplied with multiple sources (including perhaps a grid) then put the power back into the battery ASAP ready for the next peak. The commercial, agricultural and industrial level is just a larger scale of a yacht or house.

            eg. my inverter/charger can be programmed to draw a maximum of between 5.3A (1200W) and 50A (11.5kW) from the grid. In a house this limit is set depending upon the size of the cable/circuit breaker. How it is setup in a business premise or industry application would depend upon the size of the wires going into the premise and hence that determining the cost of the service from the grid. In industrial applications there’s simply bigger and more inverter/chargers paralleled and placed in three phase doing exactly the same thing.

          3. Ian Avatar

            Your challenge is not kW, but MW. Take the example of Alcoa in Portland that sucks down hundreds of MW of electricity and has some thermal load. Other industrial plants have tens of MW thermal load and tens of MW electrical load. They are both different. The first is a pure electrical play that has marginal room for movement in demand due to the risk of pot lines setting. The other can swing their Co-Gen and co-fire to improve heat efficiency and chase demand. The supply to Alcoa can integrate Renewables and storage easily. The second plant is limited by the thermal load and fuel source. The second is a more challenging proposition, yet not totally unsolvable.

          4. Daniel Avatar

            OK, no worries. Well Victron seem able to coordinate 0.5MW and at a quick glance Selectronic appear to have an inverter/charger with a continuous output power 6x bigger than Victron, which may place it in the low MW (with grid input). So there must be other specialist industrial inverter/chargers… Anyway I’m hearing it’s all doable. Therefore SA doesn’t really have a problem that can’t be solved.

          5. neroden Avatar

            So, to look at something like the Alcoa plant. The first redesign should be for thermal efficiency: insulating the process, keeping the “hot room” hot and the “cold room” cold. That’s a substantial redesign. The second change should replace fuel-burning sources of heat with electrical sources of heat, which is completely straightforward. The third change is just to put a huge number of solar panels and batteries up, which is limited only by money and space.

            Let’s say Alcoa in Portland, Victoria is pulling down 600 megawatts peak (that’s the number I found by Googling). At current prices, that’s $972 million in batteries to provide the peak rate needed; it’ll do that for two hours. If they’re operating during the day, put in some solar panels and assume they’re producing about half the time (so put in twice the need: 1200 megawatts DC) and you find that it costs about $678 million. The main problem is that you need about 120 million square feet for the solar panels, or about 4.3 square miles of panels, but that’s possible to site for an industrial facility.

            So that’s about US$1.7 billion to make the Portland Alcoa plant run entirely off solar and battery power. *This price is already reasonable*. Look at how much companies like Alcoa spend on factories anyway. And the prices are going down, fast; batteries are expected to drop by 50% soon and solar panels typically drop by at least 12% per year. You have to add some costs for cabling, but in two years, I predict it’ll be around $1.1 billion dollars plus land acquisition.

            For this price they eliminate fuel and electricity costs for at least 10 years (if the batteries have a poor lifespan) and probably longer, so if their fuel + electricity bill exceeds $110 million / year, it’s a no-brainer. Even if their bill is lower than that it’s still a pretty good investment (the solar panels will definitely last 20+ years).

            For smaller industrial facilities with loads more like 30 megawatts, divide those numbers by 20. $55 million is a very plausible capital expenditure for a big industrial facility.

          6. Daniel Avatar

            With the brand I use the largest inverter/charger can invert 10kVA from batteries and can drag an extra 2x 100A from the grid or 46kVA. Thus the total load that can be powered from one inverter/charger is 56kVA single phase
            so 3x inverter/chargers paralleled = 168kVA single phase
            so 3x inverter/chargers paralleled x 3 = 504kVA three phase. I’m using the Victron Brand. I think Selectronic does much higher power inverter/chargers for bigger commercial and industrial applications.

            This is why I continually say if we all get started with batteries and inverter/chargers, we accelerate our community knowledge of PV/storage and inverter/chargers capable of receiving multiple AC inputs (eg. grid, wind, diesel). If we don’t step ahead ourselves, it makes it hard to build a knowledge base for bigger systems. I think we will find PV/wind/storage + any available grid power can be designed to do virtually any application…

          7. neroden Avatar

            Precisely zero processes “require” fuel for heat. Look at what Tesla is doing with the Gigafactory.

            Most processes use heat mainly to get a substance to a specific temperature. I mentioned the key trick for this above, and Tesla is using it: have a heavily insulated “hot oven” which never cools down, and your ongoing energy requirement to maintain it becomes quite low, do the point where it can be done with electricity.

            Those which are using chilling to achieve particular temperatures can do the same thing.

            Those which are using chilling for that purpose — or to remove heat from exothermic chemical processes — are typically already using either electric heat pumps, or passive heat exchangers which require no energy input.

            Arc furnaces are also already using electricity.

            Those processes which are endothermic and require heat input are another category; there’s a sense in which the energy there goes directly into the product. They can mostly be done with electricity too, but the demand may be higher than for processes where you are merely changing the temperature of the product (in which the energy is substantially recoverable, and you’re only fighting entropic losses).

            So, I guess what I’m saying is, it requires some significant redesign of industrial processes and retooling of factories, but we know how to provide all the process heat without fuel-burning, and it can even be done pretty economically in most cases (though some will be quite expensive). A lot of industrial processes would benefit greatly simply from insulation.

        2. Daniel Avatar

          OK well even if heating for certain industrial processes can’t yet be accommodated, surely the bulk of the bill could be chopped down, especially spikes in peak demand and I thought industry mainly gets charged for their peak demand…

        3. Daniel Avatar

          What exactly are you saying is the limit for high power industrial heating processes? Area for PV? Battery peak power output? Inverter/charger peak power outputs?

        4. Daniel Avatar

          With having more than one AC generator, e.g. a grid and wind, there’s just special inverter/chargers that accept 2x AC inputs. These are often used in small scale applications as well. Having a PV source as well isn’t an issue because that is fed directly to batteries. So three energy sources can and are regularly accommodated for…

        5. neroden Avatar

          Well, Tesla’s generating their process heat for the Gigafactory (and they need a lot of it) with electricity.

          They make this viable financially by using heavily insulated ovens which never cool down. So they only have to heat them up once, and then the electric use need only maintain temperature, only having to cover incidental losses through the insulation or when inserting or removing items.

          There are a lot of industrial processes which can be thermally optimized in the same manner. There are probably some exceptions.

  10. hydrophilia Avatar

    Government-owned suppliers are doing it, too, so just blaming the free-market for the problem is, perhaps, incorrect. It has become acceptable to rig the market so that these corporations, private or government, can snag an extra wad of cash from citizen’s pockets while pretending, in the case of the gov, that they are keeping government small and under control.
    Folks speak of “harnessing the power of the free market”, but many of these same people remove limits and regulations, removing the “harness”.

  11. hydrophilia Avatar

    “Origin Energy, the other big player in the market, has said that what happened in the South Australia market was entirely normal, and perfectly predictable.”

    Yes, the abuse was predicted as a normal response to that much market power. “Normal and predictable” is far from being the same as “proper” or “acceptable”.

  12. hydrophilia Avatar

    Could this all be a subterfuge? Could the Coalition, determined to save the world from climate change, be working to discredit the ff folks and power companies while taking their $ and pretending to support them?

    Just offering another hypothesis…

    1. Chris Fraser Avatar
      Chris Fraser

      You’re wanting to believe that the Coalition will always put the environment and your descendant’s living standards before the profits of big donors. Alas …

      1. hydrophilia Avatar

        I have trouble believing that any of our leaders would ever, through error, shortsightedness, or venality, compromise our future. You must be some sort of cynic….or realist.

        1. Chris Fraser Avatar
          Chris Fraser

          Don’t have concerns I had trouble believing it too, of their dismissing a wealth of scientific observation for their strange ideology.

  13. Analitik Avatar

    But aren’t all the wind farms providing competition with their low cost power? And distributed PV is reducing demand, right?

    Just add more of both and the market will be even more competitive (at the right times)

    1. Chris Fraser Avatar
      Chris Fraser

      Yes, wind and distributed solar have a lower short run cost and are supposed to provide that competition, at all times. Market failures occur when AGL and Origin are actually the biggest investors in those renewables, and tend to charge as though all their energy is sourced from more expensive coal and gas generators. The market would perform more as it should if some smaller companies would invest purely in wind and solar and offer consumers a choice.

      1. MaxG Avatar

        Yes, it is brilliant isn’t it?! It is called capitalism, not socialism, hence, why they would charge an arm and a leg, even if the energy generation would be free.

  14. Daniel Avatar

    The problem is being created by manipulating markets by exploiting a need for peak demand. Solar, wind, PV systems are scalable from our properties to agricultural, commercial, industrial and community infrastructure. If we understand how the system works to deal with peak demand, then we understand how SA’s problem can be solved.
    Lets look at a residential property like mine for example. I pay for a service for the grid to supply a certain peak demand. It is a physical limit of the consumer mains coming into the property, the transformers on the network, high power wires and what coal and gas generators can supply.
    So what happens if I have a peak demand that is more than what the network can supply??? The inverter/charger is the brains of the renewable energy system and it is our programmable energy management system. It is a computer and it has the following choices to source any deficit in what the external grid can provide:
    a) it gets any immediate DC solar power coming from the PV array,
    b) it can source DC power from the battery,
    c) as well as the external grid, certain inverter/chargers can source additional AC from other onsite AC sources such as:
    i) diesel generator
    ii) wind generator
    For example, on my property the cable going to the solar system has a 6mm2 cable with a circuit breaker set to 32A. This means that AC input on the inverter/charger is programmed to draw a maximum of 32A. What if I need more than 32A? The inverter/charger gets the additional power from the PV array, and if needed the battery, changes it from DC to AC and adds it to what’s coming in from the grid. In my case with my first small inverter/charger, it can add a continuous additional 13A so this means the inverter/charger can deploy 32A + 13A = 45A. The inverter/charger is also capable of supplying additional peak power from the batteries for brief time periods. Once the high power load (up to 45A in my case) reduces, the inverter/charger can be programmed to top the batteries back up with the grid immediately if we wish or allow renewable energy to fill up the batteries. In this way the inverter/charger supplies AC to loads (inverter) and recharges batteries (charger) when those peak loads reduce.
    In summary this is how renewable energy evolved in the beginning, with developing countries without a reliable grid and remote areas with a limited or intermittent grid. The inverter/charger draws what power it can when a grid is available or to the extent of the maximum power available form the grid, and adds to this power from many other sources: PV, batteries, wind, diesel. This is how the inverter/charger reduces the peak power needed from the grid. An easy way to think of the problem is imagine we’re in a yacht and we dock at various countries and some have a weak grid. We tell the inverter/charger how much power it can source from each grid, then the inverter/charger balances this with its other power sources and the loads we demand of it.
    So SA doesn’t have a problem with peak demand if its citizens all take some responsibility to scale renewable energy on their properties, farms, commercial and industrial premises. We all pay a fee for service based upon the size of the wires coming into our premises, and it’s in our interest to moderate our peak demand, especially larger enterprises who pay a premium for higher peak loads. These peak loads can be offset with PV, batteries, wind and diesel.

  15. Miles Harding Avatar
    Miles Harding

    No, It’s not OK Rod.
    In other regions, this is called “unconscionable conduct”.

  16. neroden Avatar


    Don’t you have competition laws?

    In the US it would be possible to sue the individuals on the ACCC for failing to implement the laws. And this quote would be enough to *win*. They’d have to reopen the hearings. Rod Sims would be personally liable for corruption.

    1. Daniel Avatar

      Exactly. A potential failure to carry out duties to act in the public’s interests. Also needs to be a declaration of any private investment which are a conflict of interest for carrying out their public role.

    2. Charlie Avatar

      This was not a ruling by ACCC. This was just a talk by Rod Sims in a conference. If you want to challenge, you should lodge a complaint to ACCC against AGL in the first place. Has anyone done that? No, not from Big Energy Users, nor from renewable energy.

      1. Daniel Avatar

        Well the problem appears to go back to 2007 and uncertainty exists about whether the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is responsible for maintaining competitive markets or allowing purchases which significantly reduce competition in the market. I don’t know. What is the ACCC for?

      2. neroden Avatar

        Well, hey, I’m not Australian. So I don’t know your laws. Maybe your competition laws are just very very weak. In the US, someone absolutely would have lodged a complaint, months ago.

        1. Daniel Avatar

          Well we need remain positive and optimistic that even though we can’t immediately see the consciousness evolution on the surface, change is coming about and the distributed paradigm is happening through both macro and micro levels. A smart grid will happen through demand response software and load management software will make premises more responsive to renewable energy behind the meter.

  17. Daniel Avatar

    An analysis of government corruption

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