Business as usual in NSW — one liar for another

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Watch out for flying pigs, the new NSW premier says electricity prices will go down after privatisation. Lachlan Barker does the sums.

The new premier of NSW, Mike Baird, has not wasted any time.

He wants to start making money as fast as possible.

And the biggest fat pay cheque of them all is selling the NSW power grid, netting him and his cronies a cool thirty billion.

On Saturday, the 19th of April Baird said this to the Daily Telegraph:

"I'd say look at the facts. The facts show very clearly that electricity costs in Victoria since privatisation have been lower ...

"They have been lower, you can't dispute that and yes there would be a big scare campaign about this."

Well Mr Baird, I've got an issue with all three sentences you have uttered above.


"I'd say look at the facts."

I have, and you're gonna see the results of my researches in word and picture.


"The facts show very clearly that electricity costs in Victoria since privatisation have been lower."

They are not.


"They have been lower, you can't dispute that and yes there would be a big scare campaign about this."

They’re not lower, I do dispute that and if anyone is running a scare campaign, it's you, Mike.

A pre-emptive scare campaign.

The premier's thrust seems to be: I've got to create a massive fear in the voters' minds that if the power industry in NSW remains regulated, then their bills are going to be sky high.

So, let us – as Mr Baird urges us to – look at the facts.

I went to the website of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). This organisation was established in 2009 to manage the national energy and gas markets.

In the data section, I found a history of power prices by state.

So I took the figures across to a spreadsheet and made this graph.

(Source: AEMO)

The yellow trendline on the graph represents the average price of electricity in Victoria. It's recorded on the website as RRP (Regional Reference Price).

This is the standard used across the country to compare power prices.

I didn't just make the trendline up — I used the spreadsheet analysis tools to display the trend.

So as we can see, power prices in Victoria have been steadily increasing since 1999. Privatisation has not made the price lower, quite the reverse.

So I contacted the premier's office, attached my the graph to my email, and asked him this:

Dear Premier,

The attached graph shows that the statements you made on Saturday to the Daily Telegraph, printed on Saturday, April 19, are wrong.

So do you admit you were wrong?

Or are you a liar?

Needless to say, I have had no reply.

Of course, the conservatives will say: it's the carbon tax that is making the trendline go up.

Well, no actually, the carbon tax was brought in 2012, the trendline shows a steady increase from 1999.

So what is Mike Baird up to with the sale of NSW's power infrastructure?

Well it's an obvious money grab.

The sale will net $30 billion, and this will show NSW's finances in a healthier condition.

If, as the premier suggests, the power prices in NSW will go down, then how will this happen?

It would seem that what the premier is suggesting is that with a fully free-market power supply grid in NSW, the power companies will choose to put their prices down.

Excuse me while I clean my binoculars, as I have to go out and watch for airborne pigs.

Recently, Origin Energy announced a profit of close on half a billion for 2013. Transgrid, another big player, announced $349.9 million profit.

These guys really like making money and most of that came from price rises.

Power bills for NSW householders have gone up 100 per cent over the last six years.

At the same time, the price of coal fell from a peak of US$140 a tonne to around US$60 a tonne.

(Source: InfoMine)

Almost a 60 per cent* decrease in price.

Seventy five per cent of all Australia's power comes from coal.

This shows power companies putting prices up even as their main raw material is getting cheaper.

It therefore beggars belief that they are suddenly going to put their prices down when the market has been privatised.

So life in NSW continues as usual, the premier is a liar, or he can't add up — either way, it doesn't auger well for the future of our state.

Finally, I hope that all those sinners have taken a woolly jacket, because they'll be holding the Winter Olympics on the south slopes of hell before power prices in NSW go down.

*EDITORS NOTE: In a previous version of this article we had the decrease in coal price at 100 per cent. This was obviously incorrect. In fact, the fall in price was just over 57%.

Read more by Lachlan Barker at cyclonecharlie88.blogspot.com.au.

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John Graham's art is available for purchase by emailing editor@independentaustralia.net. See a gallery of John's political art on his Cartoons and Caricatures Facebook page.

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