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SA: power crisis « Previous | |Next »
April 21, 2004

I missed this event, as I was winging my back to Adelaide at the time. The report in the Advertiser does not give us much to go on by way of comment and analysis of the ongoing fallout from the privatisation of electricity in SA and the creation of a national electricity market.

The story does confim what many know: many low income familes in South Australia are struggling to pay their electricity bills. Some background material can be found here.

The Advertiser story says very little about the contribution by Professor Quiggin estimated the total loss of income to SA from privatisation will be around $3 billion over 10 years."
Why so? Silence from The Advertiser.

What we do get are the comments of John Spoehr, executive director of Adelaide University's Centre for Labour Research. He said there was "no choice but to consider the introduction of radical measures" such as price caps, the abolition of GST on essential services and government involvement in generation and distribution to control spiralling power prices.
What sort of government intervention does John Spoehr have in mind other than regulation (price caps) and the removal of GST on essential services? Is he suggesting that the states buy back the power plants and transmission lines? The Advertiser is silent.

The Advertiser report goes on to indicate the Rann Labor government's view that the emerging competitive market will sort things out.

What suprised me was the silence about the need to shift to sustainable energy. Is this just bad reporting by The Advertiser? Or did the social democrat commentators not address the issue of sustainability, given the large amount of investment in wind energy in SA?

Maybe John Quiggin will inform us of what happened at the fourm on his blog when he has a spare moment.

The electricity crisis was addressed by Mark Latham as his caravan swept through the marginal seats of Adelaide. He said that there was a need to create more transmission links between states to stimulate competition and help cut power prices. His "bolder, stronger national approach to electricity transmission" involves the creation of a national grid company, which would oversee development of more interconnector links from the eastern states into SA. The Rann Labor Government goes along with this.

The implication is that SA gets more electricity from Victoria that is generated by the dirty polluting coal-fired power stations in the La Trobe Valley. Not a hint of concern for sustainable energy by federal and state ALP.

They call that bold and strong?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:05 PM | | Comments (2)


The Advertiser report was, I think, based on an interview with John S - AFAIK there was no reporter at the meeting.

On the points you raise
(i) Sustainability was discussed at some length.
(ii) I advocated renationalisation of distribution and transmission
I will try to put up a report on my blog in due course.

Well that clears The Advertiser's Leannie Craig and Tom Richardson then:---apart from their misleading paragraph pretending that they were at the forum.

It would be good to hear the arguments for re-nationalisation and the points made about the need to shift to sustainablity. All we get here in Adelaide is the drip feed from the ministers office to the journalist.

On the former I'm afraid the horse has bolted. We are stuck with private firms generating and transmitting electricity in SA. We have to live with the mess made by the neo-liberals besotted with paying off public debt.

No SA government will have the political courage to re-nationalize. That debate was lost several years ago.