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October 10th 2017 print

David Archibald

One Way to Get AGL’s Attention

No altruistic outfit, the company is pledged to profit and therefore delighted to have positioned itself in the best possible situation to exploit the distorted power market. A revolt by shareholders concerned for the nation's good might just get results

quixoteOne of the more interesting documents of the 2016 US presidential election was The Flight 93 Election. The thrust  was that, as in Flight 93 of 9/11 fame, you must charge the cockpit or die. Charging the cockpit is not guaranteed to work, but you are going to be dead anyway. America’s voters heeded the message and a change agent was voted into the White House.

Right now in Australia, the major political parties are leading us to certain decline with their global warming and renewable energy policies. The choice offered is between worse and yet worse. There is not much point talking about the details of each party’s policies. They have had plenty of opportunities to think deeply about the direction they want to take the country but remain impervious to reason. Also, the next election is scheduled for a couple of years away.

But in the meantime there is AGL, which has a CEO with a personal aversion to coal. His senior management are like-minded people. AGL wants to close its Liddell power station in 2021. That is one thing.  It has also sold some of its gas assets while complaining that it is hard to contract supply gas supply. AGL wants to build a LNG receiving terminal in Victoria rather than use its own supply. It seems that beyond an aversion to coal, AGL does not want to be associated with any fossil fuel production at all.

All this is founded on a belief in global warming. There was a mild warming in the second half of the 20th century which is easily and completely explained by the fact that solar activity had been the highest in the last 11,000 years. Solar activity is now dropping and temperature will follow. The next step in Australia’s impoverishment is belief in renewable energy as the cure for that mythical global warming. Renewable energy is an even simpler con job than global warming. If energy from PV panels and wind turbines were to be used to make those same PV panels and wind turbines, the energy they produce would cost at least ten times as much. Renewable energy, as it is sold to us, is neither renewable or sustainable.

Now, of course, it is necessary for utilities to comply with legislation which govern their operations, but it is another thing to go well beyond that to destroy existing power-producing facilities, such as Liddell. Legislation is also subject to capricious change. When all the renewable energy laws are repealed, the likes of AGL are likely to be left high and dry with paddocks of useless PV panels and wind turbines.

Blackouts have been predicted for the east coast this summer. Supply will be very tight indeed. Australia has become an international laughing stock for having abundant energy supply at the same time as power shortages and some of the highest power prices on the planet. The latest development is that some black coal power stations around the country are running low on stocks because the closure of Hazelwood etc. has increased their coal burn, but they have yet to increase their own coal sourcing to compensate.

Blackouts will have the effect of focusing the public’s mind on why their once cheap and reliable power supply has gone Third World. With nothing else to do, because nothing electrical will be working reliably, voters will have plenty of time to think the matter through in detail. Prime Minister Turnbull appears to be very frightened of the prospect.

We don’t have to sit idly by and just watch all this unfold. We can participate! Section 8.2 (b) of AGL’s constitution states:

(b) any five holders, or holders of Share of the class present in person or by proxy (whether or not the Shareholder or Shareholders they represent cast Direct Votes), attorney or Representative who can vote not less than 5% of all votes held by Shareholders of that class, may demand a poll.

Which means that if we can organise 5% of the stock, a meeting can be called to replace the board. So far, AGL’s shareholders haven’t been asked if they want the company to bet the farm on global warming hysteria. A poll will be their first opportunity to choose. Now such an endeavour is not be undertaken lightly. AGL is a $15 billion company. But it could succeed.

Beyond that, because it is something that we could do to set the country on the right track, we are compelled to try. The sooner AGL is set to rights, the sooner the nation can be set to rights.

Citizens, to arms! Let’s reap a sweet harvest from the coming summer of our discontent.

David Archibald’s last campaign was for the seat of Pilbara

Comments [10]

  1. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Electricity provision can be considered an essential service.
    There is a fine line to draw when considering supply of essential services.
    Is that supply a task for Government, or is a corporate CEO to be allowed to set national parameters?
    For a test, consider this hypothetical. As a nation, how would we be placed at a time of sudden warfare? Would or electrical supply be found to be wanting? Would Government then take it over?
    Personally, war or not, I think we are at the stage where responsibility has to be passed from this CEO and he should be overridden by Federal Government notice.
    This note is unusual, because normally my libertarian stance would lead to an opposite recommendation. The difference here is that the motive to ditch coal and enforce renewables is not based on acceptable science – or economics. Geoff.

  2. Warty says:

    As Doubting Thomas, who in this case in no doubt at all, says: “No man is an island entire of itself.” So, in relation to electricity, our entire economic, communication, manufacturing and agriculture systems have become utterly dependent on electricity. A Luddite might find this an appalling state of affairs, whilst an anthropologist might see this as the outcome of man’s natural inventiveness.
    The truth is, should we be visited by a large meteorite, and our ability to generate electricity to be subsequently disabled, the majority of us would die.
    Dr TB Lynch, for instance would have to elbow himself a bit of space beside a billabong, hoping some steroid-affected hulk doesn’t in turn elbow him away, alongside hundred of thousands of other Sydney/Melbourne/ Perth/Brisbane-siders, or whatever squatting beside him.
    He’d have to remember how to make himself a slingshot, as the last bow and arrows and long since been stolen from the local hunting shop, that had been unable to lock its automatic doors. He’d have no money as the ATMs were all down and no machine would register his credit cards; his car had long since run out of petrol as his lungs lacked the capacity to syphon petrol from the bowser tanks (beneath the local station’s concrete). In short he has seven eight days left before he starves, his skill with the sling shot proving incapable of downing even a sleepy possum.

  3. Turtle of WA says:

    In the meantime, can they just get rid of the beardy hipster prat in the ad?

  4. pgang says:

    Solar energy is the highest in 11,000 years? Were we measuring it back then? Seriously, when people start to say these sorts of things as though they’re facts then it’s no wonder we believe in the AGW fairy monster. Secondary data based on spurious assumptions do not make facts.

    Anyway, good luck finding 5% of shareholders. I mean that. It would be nice.