Letters to the editor

Trolleys everywhere

I read a newspaper the other day where a supermarket had made it so if their trolleys were taken outside the perimeter of their car park or footpath, the wheels would lock on. Brilliant!

No more stray trolleys all over town, finding them huddled in groups around corners, seeing our brainless youths using them as a mode of transport banging into cars ad thinking it is a bloody joke when challenged. 

I’ve even seen them used as clothes baskets.

Then there is the group of trolleys who have just had enough so they threw themselves off the Dublin Street Bridge in front of trains. 

MEL MORTIMER

Port Lincoln​

Reducing energy prices

An advertisement in Tuesday’s Port Lincoln Times by the federal government titled ‘We’re powering forward making energy more affordable for businesses’ is quite imaginative.

We have a government embroiled in leadership problems, discontent, party unity problems and a lack of numbers in the senate, means it is unable to govern effectively, and yet they try to convince us they are achieving results.

The high cost of electricity is a direct result of lack of a consistent policy for several years which would enable investment in new infrastructure and also because of the outdated National Electricity Market Rules which were drawn up last century and are no longer applicable.

The government instigated Finkel Review into the Future Energy Security of the National Electricity Market in 2017, recommended sweeping changes to the market rules but to date only one rule change has been made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

The 30 minute and five minute settlement rule changed the settlement period for generators from 30 minutes to five minutes to stop the regular gouging of the power price by generators (at the expense of customers).

It went to the Australian Energy Market Regulator for implementation, who mothballed it for two years.

So who really is in charge of the NEM? Certainly not the government, the COAG Energy Ministers and the AEMC.

How have they “reined in the network companies”? There have not been any rule changes and the network companies continue to get returns on investments other companies dream of.

We have yet to see any substance to the “secured agreements with retailers.”

“We’ve secured enough gas for Australians before it’s shipped off shore” was simply a meeting to “read the riot act” with the relevant companies but has no legal or contractual basis.

Lowering electricity prices and improving reliability requires input across all levels of government.

On the federal level, we need a consistent policy in accordance with the peoples’ wishes that will enable infrastructure investments to be made. It should be about reducing prices and environmental obligations and not about party funding. Maybe we need a plebiscite for the politicians to realise they are out of touch with the community.

The state government seems content to ride on the back of the success of the program implemented by the previous government, but this needs tweaking to continue to maintain progress so the government needs to finalise its policy and plans.

The Essential Services Commission of SA (ESCOSA) have just completed a review of the Transmission System, which is ElectraNet’s domain.

There were no submissions from Eyre Peninsula to improve the reliability of our system despite the 52 hour blackout of Port Lincoln on September 28, 2016.

The report was predominantly word smithing and clarifying terms such as “best endeavours to restore power” There are no well defined targets and penalties, but relies on expensive litigation by ESCOSA to impose penalties.

The only benefit to Eyre Peninsula was a requirement about better reporting about the running and testing of the Port Lincoln Power Station (which was raised by the local Energy Security for SA Working Party in last year’s submission to the Eyre Peninsula Power System Reliability Investigation).

ESCOSA also have an investigation into the Reliability Standards for SA Power Networks.

Again, there are no submissions from EP. 

One of the issues submitted to the previous investigation (by ESSAWP) was to repeal the state average reliability target and revert back to the former 10 regional targets to ensure all areas received appropriate reliability of supply. The draft does not reflect this.

If our councils and the Local Government Association are to uphold their vision statements to represent the local community, they should be making submissions to improve these reliability targets.

They also need to have energy policies and plans so they know which direction they should be going and the future benefits this would bring.

We have had about 12 major reports and reviews since the 2016 blackout with very few improvements from the recommendations made.

The last two reports by ESCOSA seem to be heading in the same direction and our elected representatives are silent.

STEVE SAWYER