In 2017, regulators should fight for consumers, not incumbents | RenewEconomy

In 2017, regulators should fight for consumers, not incumbents

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Despite predictions that consumers – households and businesses – will be supplying half of all electricity needs within a few decades, the automatic reflex of the institutions that govern our electricity market remains to protect the incumbents. This needs to change.

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It was just a few years ago, at the height of the debate about the fairness of solar feed-in tariffs, when we made fun of the Queensland Competition Authority’s extraordinary attempts to protect the interest of the government-owned networks.

It had come up with a proposal to hit solar households and get more revenue from people using less energy from the grid. It proposed a special time-of-use tariff targeted to solar households only.

In an extraordinary ruling, it admitted that the tariff would be unfair, probably ineffective, more expensive, inequitable, and illegal, because it would be contrary to the rules of the National Electricity Market. But it recommended the tariff all the same, because it would protect network revenues.


It seems not much has changed. More than three-and-a-half years later we find ourselves writing a story with much the same headline as we did in March 2013, when we asked Should regulators protect consumers, or network operators?

State based regulators continue to duck the issue of fair solar tariffs, with the possible exception of Victoria’s Essential Services Commission which has been forced to address the issue of a fair price for solar by the state Labor government.

But even when it came to consider network benefits of solar, the ESC would only frame it in the context of future investment.

Past spending on poles and wires and connections is considered sacrosanct and untouchable. How companies from the every other sector in industry – who inevitably have to write down the value of assets in the fact of a more competitive technology – must envy their position.

But this view holds not just for state-based regulators, it also holds in the federal sphere, where the Australian Energy Market Commission appears completely disinterested in tackling the issue when recommending rule changes and policies.

So much so that one investment report we highlighted this week appears convinced that the AEMC will not just allow utilities to jack up revenue collection from consumers even if they lose less of the grid, they will force them to pay hefty fees whether they remain connected or not.

“The Australian Energy Markets Commission (AEMC), the key regulator of Australian energy markets, highlights the networks will be allowed to vary the price of grid connection to ensure the cost of capital on the network is recovered,” wrote CLSA analyst Baden Moore writes.

“On this basis, the cost of the network will be recovered from all consumers regardless of their usage of battery and solar energy.”

And the AEMC wants to protect the incumbent generators as well.

In an analysis it has commissioned from Frontier Economics, it describes the loss of revenue for coal and gas generators from a high renewable energy target as a “transfer of wealth from the generator to the consumer”, and therefore should be stamped out.

It has been arguing that position for years. It put the same view was put forward in 2014 at the height of the debate about the renewable energy target.

It shows that despite the continued proliferation of rooftop solar, and its ongoing plunging costs, the arrival of battery storage and the development of smart software, new concepts such as solar sharing and trading and the creation of virtual power plants, nothing much has changed.

The automatic reflex of the institutions that govern our electricity market, the rules and the pricing, is to protect the incumbents. Some go on about “consumer choice”, but this is essentially about the ability to switch retailers, a cost that is factored in to the utility profit margins.

Large group of people. Vector seamless background

It takes little account of the shift from centralised generation to the consumer, the development of local sharing and trading, variously described as the emergence of the “prosumer”, and the democratisation of energy.

Recent reports have highlighted how dangerous and counter-productive this thinking is. The CSIRO and the networks owners issued a fascinating report looking at the pace of change in the energy market, and how quickly households and business could adopt more solar and more battery storage.

They suggest the amount of solar could increase five-fold in a decade, accompanied by a massive take-up in battery storage. Importantly, the networks concede that for them to play a role in the future, retain the consumer and protect their asset base, they need to change the way they do business.

That requires a rapid and thorough change of rules, a position that was underlined by the Finkel report on energy security, who also wrote of the “unstoppable” energy transition and the need to stay on top of market rules and technology shifts.

The solutions to the challenge of this transformation were readily available, Finkel noted, but the rules and the design of the National Electricity Market were simply not up to the task.

This, though, has been something the rule maker has been reluctant to engage with. And an added problem is its reliance on modelling that bears no relation to the real costs of renewables.

“Perhaps this is the greatest challenge the industry faces in 2017, that is getting the AEMC to wake up to itself,” writes ITK analyst David Leitch.

The consumer is about to play an ever important role in the energy market. They will no longer be reliant only on a centralised grid, and will have ready alternatives to the costly supply of centralised energy.

The CSIRO and network owners report, as others have made clear, suggests that consumers – households and businesses – will be supplying half of all electricity needs within a few decades. The regulators need to start taking that into account.

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  1. Kevin Brown 4 years ago

    Imagine the uproar if Telstra was allowed to continue charging landline fees to customers who have disconnected and elected to use their mobile phones in lieu!

    • trackdaze 4 years ago

      Already happens with water and sewerage lines. If it goes past your house you pay for it.

      • Arjan Wilkie SSE 4 years ago

        That’s using a 19th century justification to hobble our 21c energy generation model. The other utilities mentioned should also be required to update their outdated pricing model.

        • trackdaze 4 years ago

          Unfortunately they have numerous times with high fixed costs.

          Sound familiar?

      • DevMac 4 years ago

        How does one pay for a service one isn’t receiving? Who do you pay the money to, and what account are you paying on?
        (I’m not trying to be facetious, I actually want to know).

    • DevMac 4 years ago

      I doubt it would come to that, who would charge you and what would be the punishment for not paying? Cutting off the service?

      Unless it’s included in taxation I can’t see it being possible.

      Would AGL and Origin and SA Power Networks all try to charge you for having the possibility of their service? I choose to not-be-serviced by Origin, and thus pay them a monthly fee because I like their not-service better than AGL’s.
      I just can’t see how that would even get a look-in in court.

      Having said that, does logic apply?

  2. disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

    Authors on this website should fight for consumers not incumbents. With battery storage rolling out next year and local PV generation increasing, peak demand will reduce not increase. Cables on the NEM will need to stay the same or reduce, not increase as the “smart gridders” advocated for. With network security increasing with batteries and storage in general, we won’t be needing augmented infrastructure and instead we will be paying for another unnecessarily gold plated grid.

    • lin 4 years ago

      I’m not sure it is certain that electricity peak demand will reduce, particularly if people start replacing expensive gas with electricity for heating houses and water, and if EV take over the car market. If the network owners were smart, they would be pushing electricity, not bolstering FF generators profits.

      • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

        Fair enough, I guess we’ll just have to see the order it all unfolds.

      • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

        Your hypothesising future demand increases like networks have in the past, when that got us in trouble before. The present issue in the foreground of everyones awareness is network security and people beginning to table approaches for bigger infrastructure, when storage has already been proven to be the most cost effective avenue for FCAS, providing local areas with the capacity to stand alone and hence facilitate load shedding for bigger networks and reduce cable diameters to bigger networks. Even if people replaced gas, and moved to EV’s in the 2020’s, your working to an assumption new renewable energy will not keep pace with new demand, and the new demand will require more regional and interstate energy flows. In my view, none of these factors are certain or likely to recover the costs of more and bigger network infrastructure. Most of the increased energy flows could be accommodated locally not with a centralised grid. Instead of hypothesising and second guessing the future, it is best to stay focused in the present on an immediate plan for energy security and a cost effective grid. That is storage.

      • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

        I really resent people advocating for increased network spending upon my behalf, when there is no indication anywhere demand is increasing. How bout you find the evidence?

        • lin 4 years ago

          You are making a lot of assumptions about the point I was trying to make, so back off from your resentment for a minute. I certainly am not advocating more grid gold plating and continual screwing of consumers.
          It is not clear what the best mix of storage options is going to look like yet, but if we are going to ditch FFs, we are going to be using a lot more electricity than we currently do if we are going to continue living anything like how we do now. As the Finkel report says, we need to get a coordinated approach to phasing our fossil fuels. We should not assume that this will not increase peak capacity requirements in some parts of the grid..
          I speak from my own experience. My roof is pretty much full of solar PV. I generate a bit more than I use. However, If I try heating my house and water, there is no way I can generate enough power from my roof space to meet my demand. I hope my next car purchase will be an EV. This will mean I need to import even more electricity, which is a great thing if it comes from a sustainable generation source. This means that I will need to import significantly more power than I currently do from the grid. I am sure that I am not alone here, as most city houses and apartments will not have sufficient roof space to be self-sufficient for power generation if electric heating and EVs take off.
          It may be a more environmentally sustainable option to have a number of large scale storage units supply this capacity rather than every house having their own batteries, particularly if it can use existing infrastructure, such as hydro, pumped hydro, or new options compressed air storage, molten salt, repurposed brown coal pits etc. Or perhaps EV batteries can be used to balance the load, and keep peaks down. This needs discussion to determine the best, cheapest, most sustainable and most reliable options.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            Yes I’m also in the process of retrofitting a couple buildings to be more passive solar, as well as attempting to install enough solar hot water and solar power. It’s challenging creating a design for a whole property, including the garden. With the grid, I’m for local generation and storage wherever possible, harvesting energy as close to the point of use as possible and minimising grid infrastructure. Small, medium and large installs can be done depending upon the size of towns and cities etc with the storage technology to suit each level of scale and reduced cable diameters that storage will bring about.

          • Goldie444 4 years ago

            Yes lin, if network owners were ‘smart’, their could grow their business of selling electricity even to people who have PV on their roof.

            Your post is spot on – “My roof is pretty much full of solar PV. I generate a bit more than I use. However, if I try heating my house and water, there is no way I can generate enough power from my roof space to meet my demand. I hope my next car purchase will be an EV.
            This will mean I need to import even more electricity, which is a great thing if it comes from a sustainable generation source. This means that I will need to import significantly more power than I currently do from the grid.”

            When I got my hybrid plugin EV, my daily electricity use went from about 8 kwh to 18 kwh.

            This also shown me being connected to the grid is important, no matter how much I hated the ‘service charge’.

            So as the grid improves on its Renewables over FF, so does your own ratio.

  3. howardpatr 4 years ago

    The Greens with the ALP should be able to call the AEMC before an appropriate Senate Committee – then again Mark Butler would have to work through Shorten’s ties and obligations to and with the unions involved in the mining and electricity industries.

    • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

      Very interesting comment with some positive potential. It won’t serve the electricity industry if the grid becomes less cost effective.

  4. Rob 4 years ago

    You can bet the contracts signed off by the various governments when selling off the publicly owned power bodies have in confidence binding assurances that the companies will receive all the help they need to stay profitable. There will be secret legally enforceable agreements. They will no doubt be revealed in 50 years or so.

  5. howardpatr 4 years ago

    Down the track we might well see community owned energy storage facilities with the likes of Reposit Power being able, with blockchain technologies, to direct PV energy to and from such facilities.

    Imagine a whole new suburb in say the Australian Capital Territory being developed around such technologies. In fact the ACT has a new suburb on the drawing boards, (Kenny), where it would be possible for the main local grid provider and ARENA could work together to have such technologies put in place – at least for part of the suburb to start but with provision for the lot, as technologies are proven.

    Food for thought

    • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

      Great idea, a pilot project, an opportunity for a grid to prove the benefit of storage and fulfil it’s new mission as energy conductor for a renewable energy orchestra. What better place to begin than in the ACT… with ARENA helping to prove the benefit of storage and shut up those dissenting voices.

  6. Andy 4 years ago

    Different imaginings (like howardpatr) are definitely required. I like the comparison to Telstra continuing to charge for disconnected landlines, and I tried to think of another situation where in the future we may pay for an unused ”service”.
    One came to mind (as a lol example) and that was for petrol stations to start charging a fee per visit- apart from petrol purchased. And then keep charging EV vehicle owners the same fee by way of an add on to rego.
    These examples seem ridiculous. Yet this is what is happening with power retail now.

    • Dbunk 4 years ago
    • Sally Noel Triggell 4 years ago

      Simple, and already floated, add the charges to your rates. Nobody can opt out or your house will be sold out from under you. Hardly constitutional but if it keeps these companies profitable, then who cares, right.

  7. lin 4 years ago

    It seems unlikely that the regulators will represent the interests of consumers while the current federal government is in power.

    • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

      Well I’m in the Greens and if we were in power the consumer would unlikely get represented much either, cause we’re mainly a bunch of ideologues who would simply want to chuck up renewable energy however we are able to get it there the fastest. Few people ever think about social justice or a reliable grid in us green lefties.

      • DevMac 4 years ago

        Giles, this comment warrants removal.

        • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

          Actually I went to a Greens in person Member Feedback Strategic Review and the group workshopped the issues on a whiteboard. The group had a primary concern for increasing renewable energy among a handful of issues and never was there anything on implementation with social justice values in mind – regards that issue of renewable energy. Why does my comment deserve removal? I seek to raise awareness about society’s current focus and if that is skilful. Things can always be made to work better. Why don’t you go to the Greens website and show us the relevant policies to the contrary?

          • DevMac 4 years ago

            I seriously thought your comment sounded like a conservative having a go at lefties whilst offering nothing of substance.
            My apologies.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            No worries at all. I respect people being forthright. I like to sort through strengths and weaknesses of any approach, knowing others with different values will exploit the weaknesses and sidestep the strengths. I like honesty and continual self appraisal.

          • DevMac 4 years ago

            I’ll give you an enthusiastic “carry on!” in that case.

        • DJR96 4 years ago

          Nah, it’s a fair comment.
          Greens may have some admirable ideology, it’s the implementation that almost never works.
          That comment was surprisingly honest! And if it helps people understand the MO of the Greens, then it is worthwhile.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            If I ever find myself on a Greens working group, I’ll have to consult with you to form some real policies… not that I’m planning to. I haven’t worked out how interested they are in comprehensive policies yet, or whether they actually consult much outside their party. I did argue they set a goal to govern instead of being a protest party. I also suggested they form alliances with other parties with like values or overlapping values. Said the Coalition are more evolved in that regard.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            I am on a certain relevant policy committee, albeit only very recently. Now know just how much work is ahead……
            But I think I have a major transition plan that I will advocate for and try to get things moving in the right direction instead of the stagnation at present.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            I am on a certain relevant policy committee, albeit only very recently. Now know just how much work is ahead……
            But I think I have a major transition plan that I will advocate for and try to get things moving in the right direction instead of the stagnation at present.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            I am on a certain relevant policy committee, albeit only very recently. Now know just how much work is ahead……
            But I think I have a major transition plan that I will advocate for and try to get things moving in the right direction instead of the stagnation at present.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            When I brought up the alliances issue, a substantial amount of members, about half, were reluctant. I endeavoured to highlight it is really only those ruled by fear who won’t engage with others. I would negotiate with anyone if I could get better policies for consumers than what is currently in place. I see no conflict in setting goals in the deepest accord with the Greens, and negotiating anything better than is currently already in place. I found a few people who would rather stand on the sidelines and shout their values with placards etc. Like they want to be the idealists and uncompromising on their feelings. I work more on the philosophy the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            I’m the sort that will work out a technical solution, a way to do something better, appreciate what technology can do in the future etc. Where I’m not so good is dealing with people, the political aspect of things. Something I’m having to improve on.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            I have three degrees in dealing with people although I began a soldier. I’m fairly ruthless, though only to get my goals forwarded and only have patience issues if people differ from my values. Other than that, I can be diplomatic. In the army they trained me in electronics and communications tech.

          • DevMac 4 years ago

            To me it sounds like misrepresentation and trolling.
            If it’s not (and the further comments from the same user sound less like a troll), then fair enough.

  8. James Ray 4 years ago

    The AEMC, NER and COAG Energy Council does indeed need to act in the interests of consumers, not energy incumbents.

    In addition to solar and storage, local electricity trading will also help to make energy supply more economical. Read, sign and share this petition to change the national electricity objective (NEO) to consider environmental impact and reconsider the change request to allow Local Generation Network Credits or otherwise facilitate local electricity trading.

  9. Ian 4 years ago

    Couple of thoughts:
    1. A lot is spoken about the gold plating. What exactly have the incumbents purchased in terms of poles and wires, perhaps some sort of list of their hardware investment might be useful.

    2. There is a way out for the gentailers, new electricity markets. There is no reason why households need to carry the load for the whole country aren’t there some industries left to consume electricity? Instead of thrashing mums and dads households with ever higher fees, encourage EV adoption.

    • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

      I saw a list somewhere of proposed interconnectors. It’s for peer to peer sharing and such, so that if I switch a kettle off in NSW, someone in WA can switch one on.

    • DJR96 4 years ago

      The gold plating has all been about having redundant transmission lines so that there is multiple lines to get energy to anywhere and everywhere on the grid. If a line goes down there is other lines to carry the load.
      A case in point is in SA during that September storm. There is 4 lines running up to Davenport, 3 of which failed due to the storm. But Davenport still had a connection.
      It does increase reliability no doubt. And inter-connectors are also used to move energy between States. Something there wasn’t an awful lot of until after the grid was nationalised in the 1990s.

      Then there is also a fair bit of augmentation within the distribution networks too. This was done to provide extra capacity for increasing peak demands – which haven’t eventuated and could be considered a waste of money.

      However, all this capacity and connectivity is and will be essential for the long-term continuation of the industry and nation as a whole. We will still require a network to “re-distribute” energy. It’s just that energy won’t be just from big centralised thermal generators, it will also be a means of selling our excess solar energy. Which alone will become a much more significant proportion of the total energy generated.

      • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

        There’s a fair amount of centralised thinking in your distributed kind of grid. You speak as though allot of this infrastructure is a given and needed though in fact it is not. RE/storage being local, really could be totally restructured around population centres and grid infrastructure could be massively reduced. There is simply no need when the vast majority of electricity can be generated and stored locally, with relatively few connections to the larger network. All the triple and quadruple redundancy transmission lines are not needed with the inherent security and reliability that local RE/storage will offer. It’s important to be a true free thinker and unchain ourselves from conventions which serve an inferior model of grid reliability, for fuels that will be no more.

        • DJR96 4 years ago

          There will always be a need to transfer energy from one place to another. There a large industrial consumers that simply can not generate enough energy for their own needs. The Olympic dam mine complex draws around 140MW alone. Smelters with arc furnaces…… And it will all only work if we have somewhere to sell our excess generation. For all of us to go completely self sufficient would be a lot more expensive than to have a sharing energy economy. How would you get energy from the wind farms, solar farms, and the big hydro-electric generators? They’re all essential.
          Besides, the grid even as it is, is a massive asset that is useful. Perhaps for a long time yet. No point abandoning or dismantling a useful asset now is there? Same goes for the existing FF generators. They’re still necessary for a while yet. Until there is enough renewable generation and storage at least. I’ll be happy to see the end of them as much as you. But I do recognise the unavoidable need for them for a while yet.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            DJR your introducing a number of variables I never intended: polarity of grid versus no-grid (and self-sufficient), marauding grid versus onsite generation, dismantling existing infrastructure versus not, and so on. You wished to know how to deal with people. The primary way is having empathy and understanding to deal with ourselves. We are free to envision whatever we wish for the grid of two hundred years time and free ourselves from historical constraints. Once again lets not introduce a polarity between idealism and pragmatism. There’s no conflict between envisioning a future grid and your current transitional plan. Lets just focus on what is ultimately effective. I’m tendering the point that cable diameter and number can be reduced by introducing storage. I’m hypothesising RE/storage could be best sized for localities specifically. I’m hypothesising local energy flows within any town, city, city council, region, would exceed energy flows for weather and seasonal variations in RE. On the basis of these premises, I conclude a distributed network in 200 years could have smaller network infrastructure not larger.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            All I’m looking at is reforming the grid power system so that all the things you are talking about can happen.

            I’m all for ideas, but to be most effective the grid as we know it needs some real fundamental changes. That’s where I’m trying to work at.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            DJR no matter how technically astute you are, no one no matter how brilliant, can keep pace with all technology in all fields. I know inverter/chargers can be built to specifically compensate for low diameter cables. This feature evolved in part from yachts docking around the world at different ports, dealing with cabling for different amps. Called Power Control, this enables an individual site (yacht, property, city) to take advantage of potentially unlimited peak power of the inverter, while still benefiting from a relatively small current draw from the larger contextual grid. Thus the inverter external Ac current limit is set to the cable to the larger network, while the local load has potentially unlimited peak power, determined only by the inverter peak power. Additionally if the local site, town, city, city council is short power due to weather or seasonal variations, the inverter can still source power from a far away network, to the limit of the cable diameter. Thus because the local amps have a greater provision of power compared to the additional non-local network provision, there is actually a crossover from a centralised paradigm to a true distributed RE / storage paradigm, changing the needed provision of grid infrastructure, in terms of what cabling is located on the AC input and output (load) of the inverter/charger. This is a cheaper model because cabling and maintenance is substantial. This feature is proven over decades in developing countries with a weak grid, where onside loads are much higher than the grid can provide. It has already been done and proven more effective and more reliable.

          • DJR96 4 years ago

            We’re on the same page here so I’m sure why we’re having this debate.
            The system you describe is all very much part of what I have in mind. I’m just taking that and altering it a little to be able to include all the existing generation and transmission assets to be a part of it. Making it a true network wide system and not just a location specific system.
            There are generation and transmission assets already built, may as well make the most of them while their there. They are essential in fact. I’m not talking about scaling transmission infrastructure back at all. FF generation will slowly die out as it is displaced by renewables over the next several decades though.
            Anyway, enough for now. I’m heading off for a break soon. I’m sure we’ll build on this in future posts. Cheers.

          • disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

            Ok great sounds like a really integrated approach Cheers

  10. disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

    Many authors on this website attempt to run before they can crawl. Most have made a solar system work with a generous FIT and most have never installed a battery. I can tell from the complaints about FIT’s. Then we went through the smart grid ideas, the intellect and imagination running wild, even bringing artificial intelligence into it. Meanwhile we’re critiqued for intermittency of renewables and our response – we don’t need that until 50% penetration. What if we focus on the basics, that solar can be generated and stored? Notice how the other side is smart enough to debunk practical examples, so we primarily need practical examples. I no longer care what the PM is doing because we know he has a philosophy to do little and spend little. The situation with the grid is likewise next to intractable as well. So the battle needs to be fought exclusively where we can, on the grounds of micro level change, property by property, with lots of case studies of cost effective projects. We need not kid ourselves and so prices of systems and payback times are important. The technology has to be sold by proving it.

  11. disqus_gF5uXVTUbL 4 years ago

    Peer to Peer Trading.
    If we’re idealistic, peer to peer trading sounds nice and I know there’s a few trials around, though I reckon it will do SFA. The reason is once we get rid of the grid-connect inverter paradigm, energy flows will no longer be merely going back and forward between households. That system is vulnerable and goes off when the grid goes dead. Once storage happens, it will be the thing that energy is traded with. When I switch a kettle on, the order the inverter is programmed to source power is:
    a) solar power when there is enough which during the day there usually is,
    b) if the sun is going down or down it looks to the battery,
    c) if the battery is getting low then it looks to the grid (peer to peer trading).
    This last option doesn’t happen often and only occurs because I’ve only put up a first PV array. If I had more money, had more power to export, in an ideal world this power would go into a local network storage. This local network storage would ideally be situated before long runs of poles and wires, keeping my town afloat if they go down in wind and fire, and minimising cable diameter. So peer to peer trading won’t happen all that often and it would function far better in a centralised grid with big infrastructure. I’m no analyst though I reckon its cheaper having some provision of network storage, than maintaining huge towers and cables. So I’m advocating for a focus on storage. It’s more integral.

  12. Ray Miller 4 years ago

    As happened in Queensland when Queensland Rail failed to train enough drivers before the rail network was extended, the CEO, chairman of the board and one executive were forced to resign.
    The AEMC is in the same position and we should demand any members who are not up to the task of the Australia’s energy transition to leave and employ suitable persons outside of the fossil club and Liberals. Maybe Alan Finkel should be given the task of appointing suitable persons?

    • Terry J Wall 4 years ago

      I think that Ray has the best idea. Get rid of the executives who where not up to speed. in the real world, private sector, companies who are not “up to speed” go broke. The taxpayer is not in the business of subsidizing incompetence. Any thing short of this type of response can only described as corruption.

  13. DevMac 4 years ago

    I thought Regulators were created to oversee legislated Regulations when previously government-owned entities were privatised, and that the Regulations existed (and therefore the Regulators existed) to ensure that the market / industry didn’t get “corrupted”.

    Generally when a market / industry gets corrupted it’s the consumers that are the first victims and the remaining shareholders that are the final victims.
    As such, doesn’t Regulation primarily exist to protect Consumers?
    The fact that there is growing desire to disconnect from the grid indicates that Regulation has been failing for a long time, not only in consumer pricing but also in the direction of infrastructure spend to cope with moving towards decentralised generation and micro-grids etc.

    TL;DR: It shouldn’t have to be specified, as per the title of the article, that Regulation should fight for the consumer. The incumbent looks after the incumbent like a mother bear looks after its cubs.

    • DJR96 4 years ago

      Yep, here it is:-

      “The National Electricity Objective, as stated in the National Electricity Law, is:

      to promote efficient investment in, and efficient operation and use of, electricity services for the long term interests of consumers of electricity with respect to – price, quality, safety, reliability, and security of supply of electricity; and the reliability, safety and security of the national electricity system.”

      ( )

        • DJR96 4 years ago

          The NEO is ok. It is technology neutral.

          I do agree that the way energy is traded needs a major overhaul. That too is something I am working on. But it can’t be done with just a few rule changes. It needs a total reform and a power system strategy that will support it. It can be done I’m sure. It’s just a big job to get there.

          • James Ray 3 years ago

            Yes the current political system and vested interests are too slow to effect the change that is needed in the best interest of the public. I think that blockchain technology will help with providing incentives for consumers to increase the uptake of sustainable technologies and behaviour.

  14. Brian 4 years ago

    Nationalize the grid. We need freeways not private toll roads.

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