Monday, February 20, 2012

The Electric

In the good old days and for once, as far as I am concerned they were so far as electricity went, we had the SEC, the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, a statutory authority which generated and supplied electricity and everything in between including poles, wires, transformers and also the sales of electrical goods and even cooking lessons, on an electric stove top of course.

Now it is mostly in private hands and there are so many companies needing to make money, it is hardly surprising that electricity has become a very expensive part of our household bills. Let's have a look...

Who generates your electricity?

Most of Victoria's electricity is generated by burning dirty brown coal. These are the principal power stations where brown coal is mined

Yallourn, owned by TRUenergy, owned by CLP Power Asia, or if you like, China Light and Power company. Looks overseas owned to me, principally Hong Kong.

Morwell (Hazelwood), owned by International Power, owned by Mitsui of Japan and IPR-GDF Suez. IPR-GDF Suez is mainly French and English owned but more research in required.

Loy Yang, owned by Loy Yang Power, owners as above.

Anglesea, owned by Alcoa. Do you know what Alcoa stands for? Aluminium Company of America. Enough said.

Who distributes your electricity?




SP Ausnet

United Energy Distribution

They all get together under the banner of Energy Networks Association, ENA. I won't check who owns all these companies but you can bet there is a fair share of foreign ownership.

Who do you buy your electricity from?

Australian Power and Gas
Click Energy
Country Energy
Diamond Energy
Dodo Power and Gas
Energy Australia
Lumo Energy
Momentum Energy
Neighbourhood Energy
Origin Energy
Power Direct
Red Energy
Simple Energy

Who do you go to when things go wrong?

To resolve disputes between you and you electricity retailer, go to the Energy and Water Ombudsman, EWOV.

Who is actually in charge?

The state government is for major decisions and setting policy and there is AEMO, Australian Energy Market Operator which controls things on a day to day basis. They unscramble and rescramble the spaghetti above, buy and trade electricity, set standards and many other things.

All these companies and authorities with fingers in the pie.

It all used to be done seamlessly by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. Sorry ex Premier Kennett and Treasurer Stockdale if I don't seem too grateful.


  1. Thanks for making this so clear, andrew. now I understand. Now I can make sense of all those door knockers and phone callers touting for my electrical business.

  2. Actually it is PSO here who collects the money but gawd there are so many electric companies in the U.S. It sucks. I used to work for Enron and suppose I might be a bit bitter.

  3. Elisabeth, that we don't get them is one advantage of living here. As I was writing the post, it was getting messier and messier as I wrote.

    PSO Rubye? Public Service Organisation? Ohhhhhhhhh, Enron. Are you rich and didn't go to gaol?

  4. Jeff Kennett and his cronies have a lot to answer for. I remember Jeff Kennett saying on the news one night is "The private sector do it better" or something to that effect. The only thing the private sector do better is charge like wounded bulls :-).

  5. a pox on Kennett and Stockdale for doing this criminal thing to us.
    CHINA ? Christ.

    oh RubyeJack - Enron! I saw a doco on them losing $16million in 2 weeks, and don't mention the Exxon Valdez.

  6. Ignorance is bliss? Too many options, why can't we just hit rewind.

  7. I remember the SEC was still operating when I lived in Melbourne last, 1985 that was. Then we came back to Adelaide and ETSA was still operating. Electricity Trust of South Australia. I don't remember when it all went haywire, but it certainly is a huge mess now, with the ever spiralling costs, but lousy infrastructure and service.

  8. Windsmoke, re Kennett, the proof is really in the pudding that he was wrong now.

    Ann, they are still cleaning up after Exxon aren't they?

    I'd very much like to hit rewind at times Fen.

  9. Thanks River. Adelaide, exhibit two of privatisation failure.

  10. Thanks for this info Andrew.

    Suddenly I don't feel so well.

  11. Thanks Andrew, this is very illuminating and I assume descriptive (with some names changed) of the situation in NSW. Isn't it also the case that the various state organisations are selling electricity to each other as well?

  12. FruitCake, what can we do? We are at the mercy of market forces.

    Victor, yes the states do trade electricity. I understand it is done by AEMO, but not positive about that. This is actually a good thing. Usually if it hot in Melbourne, it is not in Sydney, so the electricity is traded, and vice versa. I know SA and Tas are connected to our states too. Not sure about QLD. But I though your electric was still government owned, although not for much longer.

  13. They should have just damned that lake. If Tassie can't provide our power hydro-electrically, then what on earth is it on the map for?

  14. FruitCake, Tasmania is often left off Australia's map. While it may trouble Tasmanians, I have no problem without there being a map of Tassie in my life. I have a thought. There is a body of water called Lake Pedder. To supply us with electric, they could dam that.......

  15. if the Gordon below Franklin had been dammed, it would be owned by China or Singapore today.
    The Liberals and Labor are so busy sniping at each other, they have not noticed that the takeover has occurred, and Australia is not ours anymore. Huge great swathes of the far North West are owned by Saudi and Asian companies producing beef and cotton etc. The Saudis own 20% of Rupert Murdoch News Corp too.

    'I have no problem without there being a map of Tassie in my life'

    bwah ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  16. Oh they know alright Em Stacks. It is just so wrong.

  17. IN NSW in about 1994 John Hatton the Independent tried to bring a bill into NSW Parliament called the Core services Bill - what it meant was that Hospitals, Water, Electricity and education were judged core services. That is they were set up to provide a service and not to make a profit. That was the aim back in the old days anyway... till the pollies got more greedy and stupid...the aim was to prevent their privatisation. Of course both sides wouldn't have a bar of this as both had make that "banked" on stripping the taxpayers of our assets and selling to China or whoever could pay. Now before the service is provided the company has to draw a healthy profit...blind Freddy could see that this was an impost...we fought long and hard on that one - out on the streets with our petitions etc. Almost to a man/ woman... 100% of people we spoke to did not want these core services privatised... that's democracy for you

  18. MC, core services are the words and people do want them government owned, and well managed of course and there is no reason why they can't be both. Good extra background.