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The Australian newspaper peddles NSW electricity privatisation

This was posted to a discussion Time to give the b-team a turn, concerning the NSW Labor Government's bid to sell the publicly-owned electricity generators against the opposition of the union movement, the Labor Party and the NSW public. As further information comes to hand about the claims by The Australian Newspaper, they will be posted to this page.

Can anyone comment on claims made the story Private power 'cheaper' in the Australian of Friday 29 February:

JUDGING by the Victorian experience, households and businesses in NSW can expect lower prices following electricity privatisation, together with more choice for consumers and fewer supply interruptions.

Greg Wilson, chairman of Victoria's Essential Services Commission, said similar fears expressed by opponents of the Kennett government's state power sell-off in the 1990s had proved baseless.

"When you look back to the debate, and the view that this would lead to increases in profits and prices and under-investment, the facts themselves in our performance reporting show the opposite," Mr Wilson said.

Based on a standard annual electricity consumption of 4000 kilowatt hours peak and 2500kWh off-peak, the commission found customers could save $79-$150 through market offers, depending on the standing tariff, which ranged from $926 to $956 across the five retail areas.

...

"Those detractors of the process in NSW who try to claim that the performances deteriorated in Victoria are actually completely wrong," (said Brad Page, chief executive officer of the peak industry body, the Energy Supply Association).

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They do admit the record of privatisation in SA was "less clear-cut". (I thought it was a total fiasco), but manage to conjure up a favourable spin to put on the whole experience:

In South Australia, power interruptions have been stable, with the exception of the heatwave summer in 2005-06. South Australia received a net total of $4.9 billion for the breakup and sale of power, coal and gas assets between 1999 and 2001, compared with the $22.5 billion reaped by Victoria.

All these these claims appear to superficially lend plausibility to the case for privatisation in a very narrrow limited sense, but one can be practically certain that we are being given far less than the complete picture.

What we are certainly not being told of will be the loss of employment and training opportunities (i.e. ''feather bedding") as has occurred with the privatisation of Telstra.

Tha Australian's Editorial of the same day, perversely named Power to the people seized upon this study to push it's usual pro-privatisation message. Naturally to the Murdoch editorial writers, the wishes of two- thirds of the NSW public whom it claims to have been duped by "a union-funded scare campaign" counts for nothing.