Scenes from the Energy Apocalypse

Death by Electricity Bill

A frequent Quadrant contributor who, for family reasons, prefers to remain un-named writes:

Dear Quadrant Online,
Your editor has been complaining about his $940 quarterly electricity bill.  Well, a fortnight ago my 94-year-old aunt was killed by her power bill.

This year my aunt was very worried about her rising electricity costs and, even though she could afford to pay, she tried to get through winter by keeping the heater switched off.

Then she caught a cold.  Instead of switching on the heater, she put on extra clothes to try and stay warm.  (She would wear two blouses on top of each other, plus a thick cardigan over a wool jumper.)  But because the air in her room was cold, she developed a heavy cough, which grew steadily worse.  My cousin and I were visiting our aunt on alternate afternoons, and the place was freezing.  Each of us would immediately put on the heater when we arrived.

The bug then settled on my aunt’s chest. After several days the point was reached where an ambulance was summoned, the paramedics needing to call in back-up support because her temperature was so low it had to be raised before she could be moved. After six hours they had raised her temperature enough to put her in the ambulance and rush her to hospital.  Once there it was another long wait, as more attention was needed to raise her temperature and keep it there. It was now evident she was struggling with pneumonia.

She was admitted to a ward and went through three weeks of a slow downward spiral. Then my aunt died.

And all of this was triggered by unprecedented and obscenely high electricity costs which frightened a vulnerable and elderly woman and led to her demise.

No single political party is to blame. Everyone collectively in government — Lib, ALP, Greens, Nat, Ind — is responsible for what happened to my aunt and so many others across this once-sane country, now seemingly bent on a policy of national self-destruction.

Those who purport to be our leaders chatter and play games while people die.  A pox on them all.


etc etc

Grannies catching pneumonia. Mind-boggling bills for daring to stay as warm in our Gaia-green 21st century as once we lived in the cheap-power era of the 20th century. Businesses being pushed to the wall by soaring overheads. Baseload coal-fired power stations being shut — blown up, even — without reliable substitute sources of electricity developed or available.

Madness, right? Not according to AGL, which is putting a small part of its subsidy-distorted windfall profits into a nauseatingly smug ad campaign, “Are you With Us?

The late aunt of our correspondent above might have seen one or two of them and perhaps readers have seen them as well. If not, watch the clip below. People are dying and many business owners suffering, but those who distort, misrepresent and omit are doing very nicely, thank you.

If you appreciate irony, notice the first words out of the actor’s mouth: “Let’s be honest”. As if.

So why is electricity so outrageously costly? Ross Cameron provides a short, sharp explanation.

The take-away quote from Cameron’s analysis: “Malcolm Turnbull is lying to the Australian people if he says he wants to protect us from electricity prices when he is the principle agent ratcheting them up.”

Well, yes, the lips of Malcolm Turnbull, congenital lawyer, are indeed moving in the clip below, in which he explains how using energy to pump water uphill will lead to cheaper energy and a more stable grid when it is allowed to run downhill again.

Mind you, the Prime Minister is a recent convert to the cause of cheap power. Until recently, as Ross Cameron noted, he was an ardent and long-standing advocate for the exact opposite.

The absurdity of Australia’s situation — a massive energy exporter which cannot keep its own lights on — inspired reader William York to channel Banjo Patterson:


                    Malcolm at the Overflow

I had written him a letter that I had for want of better
Knowledge sent to where I’d met him by the Harbour years ago.
He was banking when I knew him
So I sent an Ozmail to him
Just on spec addressed to – Malcolm@theoverflow.

And an answer came directed from a place quite unexpected
And I think it came from somewhere near a Snowy hydro site
T’was a colleague who wrote it
and verbatim I will quote it
“Malcolm’s walking down a tunnel and he’s looking for some light”.

Take the case of Hazelwood where the thought was to do good
By shutting down this mighty source of power
But when the wind don’t blow
Where is this new hy-dro
And will a battery last the next half-hour?

With innovation and agility there’s a matching liability
When politicians pick a winner then someone’s bound to lose
But to add to this disgrace
They handicap the race
And then blame all the others when disaster heads the news.

But it comes as no surprise that when prices start to rise
The meters, poles and wires get all the blame
For the pollies all ignore
The fundamental flaw
Their messing with the rules has changed the game.

14 thoughts on “Scenes from the Energy Apocalypse

  • Warty says:

    I’m lazy. It’s quite an admission but it’s true, so I’ll have to admit to having sent this in as a response to an I Am Spartacus article in Catalaxy.
    What everyone misses, other than Ross Cameron, is the gigantic elephant in the room. Let’s call them energy certificates, or RET certificates, or CEP certificates . . . it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they cost $85 a pop and many, many millions have been bought to date, and are then passed onto consumers. This is how wind and solar are subsidised.
    Well may people say ‘poles and wires’, or the cost of privatisation, because these have an additional cost (to the consumer) and this is what he is Spartacus is talking about: the privatisation bit, not the cost of RET or CEP.
    Turnbull could create certainty by pulling out of the Paris Accord, and making sure Labor knows full well that if they restore Carbon Prices, or RETs or CEPs, or rejoins the Paris Accord they will never form government everrrrr (imagine an American accent on steroids).
    Now don’t for a moment think I’m an authority on this stuff. I didn’t study science at school the way normal people do, and I’ve had to work overtime even beginning to understand this stuff. But I have a nose for cow pats, and the Greens and Labor produce that stuff in volumes.
    Something stinks about the whole global warming issue and Turnbull, Shorten and Di Natale are all in the same manure business.

    • Jody says:

      Ross Cameron is an ABSOLUTE LIVING LEGEND. Period. We’d be desolate without his penetrating intellect and willingness to speak up. We cut back our electricity this past winter by dressing up in the gear we bought 2 years ago to cruise in the Arctic Circle on Hurtigruten. This thermal clothing cost a lot and, together with rugs and throws, kept us warm this winter. We both got cold bugs and one day had the A/C going to keep the house at 20 degrees, but that was it!! Guests know to rug up and we have a room with sun flooding into it because our house faces north (deliberate energy planning when we built). Also run dishwasher and washing machines AFTER 10pm only. We both experience hot flushes on our faces whenever we go into A/C buildings and homes because we are not used to the heat and feel far better without a controlled environment. We do use an electric blanket before going to bed but it’s switched off immediately thereafter. All stand-bys are turned off too. Our biggest cost BY FAR is water – that went up exponentially with ‘user pays’ and nobody complained about it. We live on 1 acre and spend over $2,000pa on water as we have landscaping and it never rains in the Hunter Region.

      I agree the energy catastrophists are destroying the joint, but good old SMH is today running the story about how business is cheating workers out of wages. These people just don’t get it; you will never see increased wages with high energy costs!!! Ross Cameron gets that and we discussed it with him recently at the Bellevue Hill Liberal Party Branch ‘revolt’ over Turnbull.

  • mags of Queensland says:

    I am on an old age pension and have no trouble paying my power bills. Every fortnight I have $50 taken out for my electricity. I receive an account every quarter and am always in credit. I use my aircon when it is hot or cold. I encourage everyone I know to do this but too many are afraid to do so.

    All governments are to blame for the current disaster. By swallowing the bulldust pedaled by the climate scammers they have left the country vulnerable and the ones who pay the highest price are those least able to afford it. Businesses are closing daily because of the price of power, something unheard of in the past. The sooner ALL governments get it that they are there to serve the people,not some leftist/green fairy tale, the better.

  • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

    We’re waiting on our September quarter electricity bill. We installed reverse-cycle electricity just before last Christmas, and ran it frequently. Our March account was no more than the previous year’s. Our June account, covering both cooling and heating, was slightly less in both usage and cost than the previous year’s. September will be the big test, because during this period the AC has never been off. Whatever the utterly corrupt Bureau of Meteorology and its faithful followers might say, subjectively this has been far from a warmer than average winter here in Canberra at least for the 42 years we’ve been here. Minus 6 degrees in September is still cold

    • ianl says:

      > ” … waiting on our September quarter electricity bill”

      Yes, and the gas bill too. I’ve been away from the house for about 5 weeks during the 3 month winter quarter (over 40% of the period). I’m waiting to see if the “estimate” method of reading power and gas meters still applies, as this means you loan these gougers money for the next 3 months interest-free. If so, the Ombudsman is the next step.

      All governments at all three levels, the two major parties + the Greens + Xenophobic, the academies, the bureaucracy, the MSM – all are deliberately pushing this catastrophic loss of living standards with no defined or definable end game. It’s the reason that Waffle had so much meeja support for his second go … Shorten will make it worse faster, of course.

      The rapidity with which our living standards are dropping has astonished me, despite my long-held Cassandra view, because it means the majority of the populace is tacitly allowing it. Not expected, the depth of that.

  • mburke@pcug.org.au says:

    Noting my “reverse-cycle electricity” blooper above, I’d welcome an edit function in this comments function.

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    Supporters of the CAGW scam are committing a crime against humanity by depriving it more and more of the progress achieved over the centuries. They, themselves, of course, continue to indulge in all the benefits of that progress, privileged by wealth, social standing and the shameless ability to preach the opposite of what they are doing. Turnbull is one of them. Right now he is in desperate panic over his disintegrating political future and is prepared to forsake his erstwhile “conviction” of CAGW, hoping to save himself from total ruin. When the chips are down, boundless self-interest is the sole principle of his being.

    • ianl says:

      > ” … is prepared to forsake his erstwhile “conviction” of CAGW”

      I really don’t think so. He’s just acting as he always does – telling selected audiences what he thinks they want to hear, but actually doing nothing to change. Does he hope this will be sufficient to re-elect him ? Again, yes he does rate himself a chance because he thinks sufficient of us are truly stupid and will simply believe what the MSM tell them.

      On a related sub-note, some weeks ago I saw the TV interview he gave in the Snowy with the CEO of the Snowy Authority. When the CEO put in a sentence about the feasibility study of Snowy2 (many of those done already, of course, decades ago), the interview was abruptly cut off from the TV at the end of the precise sentence: “It all depends on the geology”. Since then, absolute crickets on anything to do with that … as I’ve mentioned before, geoscience is publicly taboo (not discussed here, either).

      For those who may wonder at the relevance here of boring old “rocks”, the Snowy is an alpine geo environment, chock full of cross-cutting fault zones, shear zones, abutment loads, perched water traps, weathered sub-horizons, non-conformable contact horizons and sundry other project stoppers. And Snowy2 is meant to have its’ power production plant about 1.5km below the surface.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Not nice to politicalise, The Ode, Jody

  • ian.macdougall says:

    As Malcolm Fraser so wisely observed, life wasn’t meant to be easy.
    It is not our fault that The Almighty arranged the electrons in in those trillions and billions of quadrillions of CO2 molecules that come roaring up any smokestack of any coal-fired power station every second; arranged them to be not bad starters at trapping heat. God deserves all the blame for all the consequences, but is he man enough to admit it?
    Is the Pope a Muslim?

  • old44 says:

    Has everyone got short memories? As Julia Gillard said when introducing the Carbon Tax, this will change people’s behaviour, bu driving up the price of energy people will use less and that will cut emissions. All praise to Guiana, you are saved.
    I may have exaggerated that last bit.

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