RAPIDLY rising power prices will be put under the spotlight in the State Parliament today (August 15) at a Power Prices Forum being held by the Taree district activist group the Manning Alliance.
The group is staging a presentation in the NSW Parliament on the impact of electricity prices on regional communities, with specific emphasis on the construction of unnecessary infrastructure, such as the Transgrid Stroud to Lansdowne High Voltage Transmission Line Project, which is leading to “massive electricity price rises” throughout the State.
“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to make this presentation in the NSW Parliament,” chairman of the Manning Alliance Peter Epov said.
“Hopefully through this Forum we will be able to highlight and focus on the need for greater scrutiny over the entire electricity industry and particularly its insatiable hunger to build unnecessary infrastructure, which is causing such pain throughout the community through these escalating electricity prices.
“This situation is only going to exacerbate, electricity prices will continue to climb higher and this will cause significant harm to regional economies.
“The Alliance is determined to highlight the single worst example of ‘gold plating’ and unnecessary infrastructure in NSW in the Stroud to Lansdowne High Voltage Transmission Line to the NSW Parliament.
“We intend to expose just how unnecessary this project really is and we shall use facts and statistics that are either published by Transgrid, IPART, the AEMO and other recognised industry authorities to do this.”
The alliance is not politically aligned with any party, Mr Epov said.
“We are determined to work constructively with all members of Parliament both state and federal, after all the ultimate objective for us is to achieve a critically important and beneficial outcome for this community, particularly if and when traditional sources are failing us so badly,” he said.
The alliance will have two speakers at the forum - former corporate analyst turned biodynamic farmer Bruce Robertson and alliance chairman Peter Epov.
Bruce Robertson has been providing the alliance with high quality analysis of all economic data and statistics relating to rising electricity prices and the highly questionable electricity growth and demand statistics currently pervaded by Transgrid, it said.
“I have reviewed all the relevant data. There is absolutely no need nor justification for the Transgrid Transmission line in my lifetime,” Mr Robertson said.
“Peak summer demand has been falling faster on the Mid North Coast than in NSW over the last five years.
“The actual a fall is 9.6% on the Mid North Coast, compared to the NSW State average of 5.8%.
“These are significant falls and an equally massive difference between the State average and that of the Mid North Coast.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator, AEMO, frustrated with the industry’s failure to accurately forecast demand, has now resorted to publishing their own demand forecasts and they have now revised projections down for Peak Summer Demand and they are now forecasting a rise of 1.2% pa in NSW over the next 10 years.
“Yet Transgrid are now projecting an average growth of 3.6% pa for the Mid North Coast.
“So whilst our demand has fallen far greater than the entire State, Transgrid is prepared to forecast a 300% higher growth rate for the Mid North Coast than that for the entire NSW. It just doesn’t make sense.
“They are predicting a dramatic growth rate despite the history showing demand is falling faster on
the Mid North Coast.
“Transgrid’s figures to justify the Stroud to Lansdowne line have no credibility.”
Mr Epov said: “Over the past two years electricity prices are rising by an average of $850 per household, this equates to roughly $20 million per year of disposable income that will now be flowing away from our economy to Sydney.
“That is $400,000 per week in discretionary income will no longer be available to our region next year.
“We do not need the Transgrid white elephant in our community.”
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, told the Courier: “Any increase in electricity costs is worrying, particularly as we begin to feel the impact of the Carbon Tax on household budgets.
“Understandably questions are being raised about the need for Transgrid to invest in additional infrastructure when by their own admission the current 132kV transmission lines are adequate and the peak summer demand on the Mid North Coast has actually reduced.
“I understand my colleague, the Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has written to the Minister for Energy requesting a further review of the size and scale of Transgrid’s project.”