CHOICE membership

Electricity Price Increases


Yes, that pretty much sums it up :wink:


Electric vehicles have been discussed in the industry for about 10 years. Prior to that, there was not much interest in the car industry to pursue the technology. The network companies can only respond to changes, they can’t drive them.

I understand that even today, how the network will look in a decade + is not yet fully understood. There are many conceptual models/ideas but the level of certainty like that which existed in the past no longer exists.

Like other forms of technology, there are significant changes all the time and is difficult to plan for as it can take considerable time to respond to these changes (though approvals, investment and development). It is likely that thoughts of how the network will look in 10 years from today would have looked quite different to the same forecasts done a year to two ago. Likewise in a year or two some of day’s thoughts might also be outdated.

This makes the planning for the future very difficult and also does not allow the decision makers enough confidence that the future looks right (as there are ongoing changes and potentially unknown impacts which are unlikely to be considered).


$125??? Pensioners are only getting $75! Geez.


I understand as I was at one stage long ago in future/contingency planning for IT. To keep with changes, planning had to be ongoing and dynamic renewing the forward plan at least yearly, and more often if any new interesting technologies, trends, or anything else appeared.

I expect that the electricity industry must be doing the same, but if as you say electric vehicles have been discussed for about 10 years, then why does the industry appear unprepared for it, and for the volume of renewables input?

Is it just that the scale of the changes are so huge that they can’t keep up, or is it a lack of dissemination of information on their developments?


EDIT TO CORRECT ERRORS (as pointed out by @SueW) $62.50 if a member of a couple so $125 per couple, $75 if single or illness separated. $125 if on Newstart and a couple or $75 if single ie same rates as for pensioners.


A number of reasons including:

  • for electric cars and PV battery systems uncertainty in relation to if, when and how it will be adopted …10 years ago when working in the industry there was talk about 25+ year time frames (about 2035+). This was based on industry, government and stakeholder inputs.
  • government policy. This changes like the wind with every new (state and commonwealth) governments
  • technological changes For electric cars, this included using them within a smart network grid. Solar included integration of battery systems into a smart grid. Community impact on such changes such as losing operational control over private investment. The term smart grid is a little futuristic and still not fully understood what it will look like or how it will work.
  • consumer perception (having been burnt once by the ‘gold plating’, any investment needs to be demostrated by a known impact. If impact size, location, intensity etc is not known, then investment approval by the regulator is unlikely.
  • lack of funding or project feasibilities in renewables. Some projects are set up to receive government subsidies rather than be cost effective solutions. When the final investment decision is made, parties withdraw support. This has happened for some of the bigger wind and solar farms in Australia. They often need government support and operator commitment to capacity to make them cost effective. In other countries, governments have actively and heavily subsidised/invested in renewables, but this has not been the case in Australia (on ethier side of parliament at the state or commonwealth) as the market drives investment decisions.

The lead in time from forecasting an impact to thenetwoek to delivery ranges from about minimum 5 years for privately funded infrastructure (such as to rail, heavy industry, mining) to 7+ years for public (consumer) funded infrastructure. 7+ years is a long lead in time and there can be many policy and technological changes in that time. It makes delivering electricity infrastructure tricky and could be more of a catch up than forward planning for fast technology adoption due to changes in community behaviour or tovernment policy (which generally has a shorter time frames due to short election cycles.

If the community is willing to invest heavily in guessing the future needs otpf the network and paying for it, then there could be a solution for the future. The solution may not be the best, but what we all end up with. Unfortunately the costs will place pressure on electricity prices (and ‘cost of living’) which is a political hot potato what no one wants to touch for obvious reasons.


Must have changed since the “letter” I got from the mygov site in my account there. It should be said that I have not received any notification of such a change.

screenie below


Thanks for the detailed & clear explanation. Starting to make sense. It’s a lot more complicated than it seems at first blush.

Much appreciated. :blush:


Whoever wins the coming election, power prices will be an issue (during and after). There will be scare campaigns, based on modelling which will say whatever the campaigner wants. None of the models is perfect. They all make mistakes. They’re all based on assumptions. Trouble is, the models are proprietary. To get hold of one for detailed examination, you’ll generally have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege.

Australia now has its own open market model, openCEM. The model is a collaboration of industry, academia and government. The beta release can be accessed at:
Might come in handy, if only as leverage for questioning the scare-mongers.


An article describing the disgraceful conduct of the AEMO in ripping off consumers for electricity transmission losses.



So who should pay for transmission loses if not the users at the end of the line? I am sure those who are close to the source of power would be quite happy to pay more for the losses that they don’t have so those at the end can pay less for the losses that they do.

Do you also support subsidising other goods to equalise prices where costs are higher in some areas than others due to transport costs?

This article is weak journalism in that it looks to harvest sympathy from the outrage industry by uncritically accepting the position of a group who appear to be hardly done by. The cost of water is rolled into painting a picture of ‘poor bugger me’. I am not denying water allocation is a mess and that some communities are under real pressure but that has nothing to do with electricity transmission losses. The answer to those problems is to deal with water management properly not subsidise their electricity.


So you believe that these regional consumers should be ripped off for transmission losses of electricity being exported to NSW &Vic?


In what way is it a rip-off? How will you pay for it if they are subsidised?


It is a ripoff because they are being charged for transmission losses on electricity being exported interstate.

In any case, it should be the same as Qld where all regional consumers pay thge same price irrespective of how far from the SE corner they are.


From the article:
“If there are losses associated with exporting from South Australia into Victoria, then really everybody in the state should pay. Not just the businesses up here [in the Riverland].”

While there are some claims in the article about that I don’t see any evidence for it. The article is pretty unclear, it quotes the AEMO without getting them to support or reject the allegation, so it is left hanging as a possibility. Sloppy journalism at best, beating up a story (by adding in the water problems) at worst. One should not assume because it is from the ABC it is necessarily polished and professional.

My take on it is that the lines that go interstate pass by and the local consumers tap into that and pay for the losses at that point. This is the same formula used elsewhere, the fact that the lines are used for export is irrelevant as if they stopped right there the cost for losses would be the same.


It is a challenging proposition @Fred123.
Should everyone in the SE corner of Qld pay the same for electricity as everyone in the regional area covered by Ergon? Or as the next step, the same for power across the nation? It is an essential service is it not?

The NBN also provides an essential service! The government of the day solved that one! <For Some?>
We all pay the same for the NBN. It’s just that some of us get a little less than the rest for our money. _Don’t forget the bonus free Satellite. Special offer, buy one today and we will give you a second one absolutely free!_🙃

Don’t dare tell the Federal Govt we need an NPN! ‘P’ for Power, ‘P’ for ??? Lots of other things that gravitate towards Canberra.

Totally agree. It’s a very confusing argument from the ABC, devoid of fact that explains the concern clearly.

If you were to tap into a interstate feeder for a local supply? Consider that the same feeder looses that capacity to carry power further along the interconnect to other uses, for some of the time each day! Perhaps there is less transmission loss in the supply to the local community than to the user at the far end. The local user is only paying in respect of the power they use, and not compensating for the loss in the capacity of the line when they do draw off the line!

I know it is not quite that simple. Facts help!


An interesting article regarding renewable energy

Who would have thought that the USA would be so far ahead in renewable energy?


A number of correspondents have stated that the ‘gold plating’ was limited to only certain areas of the electricity network, with ‘local grid’ not touched. This may be true in some areas but in the Ausgrid areas the ‘gold plating’ covered from transmission lines (the big towers) all the way to street feeders (but mainly overhead wires).
During the period of the ‘gold plating’ literally hundreds of substations were upgraded and the associated wires replaced to cope with the additional capacity. The substation upgrade regularly saw 125 to 200-kVA transformers (from memory) upgraded to 400-kVA. Also, thousands of km of wires were replaced.
As well as the local distribution the were dozens of Zone Substations (they are the big substations you see in suburbs) were either upgraded or new ones constructed. This involved kilometres of underground cabling, which is very expensive, and very large and very expensive buildings and equipment,

So, how did this effect electricity prices? All this work required the employment thousands of extra workers plus their associated special work vehicles and equipment, plus all that material. This cost not $millions but $billions to do; where did this money come from? You and I the consumer! Every time more construction was needed for “pole and wires” there was an increase in the cost of electricity, if not the the retail price for consumption then the price to make it available. This is why it still costs so much for the standing network charge. You can reduce your electricity consumption to zero, or even export more the you consume using PV cells, but you still have that huge hit for the privilege of being connected to the electricity system!!

What is the solution? Make the network charge proportional to the amount consumed. The more power consumed the higher the cost. At the moment the conscientious low electricity consumer pays exactly the same as the wasteful high electricity consumer. This needs to be made more equitable!


Another aspect might be consideration of the written down value of the original asset. Consider a consumer who is in an older property that has had the same connection for several decades.

The costs for bringing power and capacity to that property was factored into all the past bills, and taxes for state run networks. These consumers have paid their fare share. They do not need to pay a second time?

A simple argument is that the ‘gold plating’ and increased capacity is only required to provide capacity to new users or those connecting additional capacity.

Many users have over time also reduced their demand and total usage. This has been through more efficient lighting, appliances and electrical equipment.

It appears that long exisiting customers who have effectively paid their capital debt have been stung disproportionately for cost of the system upgrades to provide extra capacity they do not need. It is true to say that there is a component of cost associated with ongoing maintenance and replacement due to age of some equipment. It is also not clear that these costs have been fairly distributed?

Because of how the electricity supply, distribution and retail industry is structured, and hand held by government, there is no legal recourse for the consumer.

The reward to consumers for reducing demand and usage is not in proportion to the benefits delivered to the network. Those business in control risk loosing income against their investment for every improvement and usage reduction made bu a consumer.

Our recent electricity bill with a full quarter of solar PV benefits provided a small credit of $4.23.
In doing so we consumed only 482kWh from the network, but fed in 1,230kWh for credit.

Excluding the value of the credit the bill came to $241.75 or 50.2c per kWh.

Unfortunately the money spent on the network over the past decade has according to many, largely been wasted. It was not intended or designed to improve the use of locally produced PV, which in general will be consumed by near neighbours who do not yet have PV on their properties.

Consumers appear still to be surrounded by falsehoods and misdirection over the true issues concerning the cost of generating and distributing electrical power.

If anyone disagrees with the 50c cost of our power, it is simply a number. It is one way of looking at the real cost of the current system of supply of electrical power to fill in the gaps when we can’t use our PV.

The margin that AGL make on the feedin power leaving our property and going to one or more properties down the street is likely substantial, given there are no generation and grid transmission costs or losses. Pure power, pure profit?


This may impact those who are for example renting with no Solar or alternative power source other than the Grid power. This brings about disparity of treatment (inequity) if your stated preference was instituted. High electricity use may be because of other factors than “wasteful”. What about those who do waste electricity but offset it by renewable energy, how do you penalise their “wasteful” usage. Your preferred option is by it’s action penalising but with no ability to distinguish wasteful Vs needful, and may/likely impact those who have no ability to reduce or offset their usage.