Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


BASSLINK: Is Hydro insolvent?

*Pic: This incredibly stark photo illustrates Hydro’s problem … Taken March 5 by Isla MacGregor of Lake Burbury. Part of the flooded Crotty settlement is now exposed and water levels are down to just over 6 metres … and the forecasts for rain are not rosy …

The Basslink cable outage will have far-reaching effects on the finances of the State Government.

Working out how to generate enough electricity for our needs is the easy bit. Finding enough dollars to help Hydro Tasmania survive is harder.

If Hydro was a private company a Voluntary Administrator would have been appointed by now as there is no certainty it would have been able to trade its way out of current difficulties.

With borrowings of $850 million-plus Basslink liabilities of $860 million at latest reporting date, private lenders would be reluctant to lend assistance.

The reason for the cable fault has not been determined, the repair time is a guess based on experiences with other sub-sea cable problems, and once repaired, whether it will meet original design specifications is highly problematical.

In such circumstances the voluntary administrator checks the situation and talks to creditors, lenders and shareholders about the way forward. In essence that is what Minister Groom is now doing.

The dim light at the end of the electricity supply tunnel gives hope that we might find enough power to continue come what may. Next is the search for the necessary funds to sustain Hydro. We can dispense with talk about profits and returns to government. Neither is likely in the short term. The question is whether Hydro can generate enough cash from operations to cover its annual capex bill of $100 million needed to upgrade dams and generating plant.

The latest year 2014/15 saw net operating cash at only $25 million. Before returns to government it would have been $105 million.

Hydro doesn’t disclose the breakup of revenue, but the Auditor-General was more forthcoming in his 2014/15 report. Revenue from renewable energy certificates (RECs) was $151 million. This has been the pattern for the past few years. It wasn’t the carbon tax effect on wholesale prices that contributed most to Hydro’s bottom line. It was REC revenue. There are few expenses associated with RECs. Without them net-operating cash would have been negative in 2014/15.

No cash for annual capital improvements presents a problem. The shortage of cash in 2014/15 was overcome by a $205 million transfusion from Tas Networks, but that’s not an option available every year.

For each MWh above the base level a generator earns one REC. Users buy RECs to satisfy mandatory renewable energy targets. The number bought depends on the amount of electricity bought/used. Once used a REC is surrendered and has no further value. A base level is set for each power station. The combined base level across all Hydro stations is about 8600 GWh determined by the level of generation at the time the renewable energy scheme started. One GWh above the base level will earn 1000 RECs.

Calendar years are used for RECs. Even when Hydro’s annual output on a financial year basis has been less than the base level, Hydro has been able to generate REC income by shifting generation from one calendar year to another and between power stations without affecting generation totals for that financial year. That’s one great advantage of hydro as an energy source, provided there’s enough water.

With average rainfall and judicious use of Basslink it would have been possible for Hydro to generate a steady stream of RECs over the next few years. There will be a shortage of RECs in the next few years from existing hydro given the drought and also because new renewable projects have been slow to resume after the Abbott interregnum.

A supply shortage means REC prices are higher. For Hydro, RECs were the beacon on the hill. The light has now been extinguished. The cable outage means the prospects of REC income for the next few years will be considerably less.

It is unlikely Hydro will generate much more than base level amounts in the next few years from its hydro stations as dam levels are restored.

If Basslink is not restored Hydro will forgo the opportunity to buy and sell electricity and profit by doing so using import and export price differences.

If the link is not fixed Hydro will no longer have to pay the monthly facility fee but the chances are it will need to pay the liability which attaches to the side deal with Macquarie Bank designed to share the interest rate risk inherent in the variable facility fee. Because interest rates have fallen Hydro has to pay Macquarie Bank each year. This year the payment is expected to be $40 million. The deal won’t expire until 2031 unless paid out early.

The amount needed for early release at this stage is about $300 million which may not be the highest priority as alternative energy sources will need to be developed.

If Basslink is restored it will be a struggle for Hydro without REC revenue to which it has become accustomed. The amount required to service borrowings and Basslink liabilities is uncomfortably high.

The government can easily provide more funds to Hydro as Tascorp, the government’s borrowing arm, always borrows far more than it needs to on-lend to its clients, principally Hydro and Tas Networks. Tascorp always ensures it has plenty of cash available to repay loans rather than run the refinance risk of suddenly having to borrow at a high rate.

The problem with giving Hydro more funds is that interest will be a burden and principle repayment a distant hope. The conservative attitude of Tascorp stands in stark contrast to the imprudent deal with Macquarie Bank entered into by Hydro when Basslink was at the approval stage.

Successive state governments have been far more reliant on their businesses than they care to admit. The businesses as a whole have had better operating cash flows and have helped sustain the general government.

This is about to change.

By all means talk up the state’s prospects but ignoring its inherent vulnerabilities is foolhardy.

*John Lawrence is an economist who lives on Tasmania’s North-West Coast. He is a blogger at tasfintalk.blogspot.com , where you can find this article

John Lawrences’s Collected Articles are HERE … including forensic analysis of Forestry Tasmania’s solvency …

Published also in Mercury HERE

TT MEDIA HERE where there are permanent links to what the Pollies say …

The parlous state of Lake Gordon, ABC HERE

• Download Energy Adequacy Assessment …

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Wiliam Boeder

    April 8, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Frank again, did you happen to watch the You Tube link provided by #17 Carole Rae?
    This is a video that proves how energy can be created by the separation of the air introduced into a vertical dropping volume of water.

    The video introduces the ancient term ‘Trompe.’
    (Watch the video which is narrated and depicted by a mature age university professor.)
    A must watch video presentation.
    Interestingly this is also an amusing entertaining video, as it proceeds the logic of it all comes to life and ‘voila’ a forced compressed air power directed through an anchored metal tube with an on-off tap fitted, this becomes the energy outlet that can if required can be piped by air-hose all through the workshop to power all one’s compressed air tools.
    So, no electrical energy required to drive the full inventory of workshop tools.
    If daylight is insufficient air pressure can also drive a magneto to produce the power to create an electrical current to power a light-bulb source of light if deemed necessary.

  2. Frank again

    April 7, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for the responses #32 Chris Harries and William Boeder #33

    Nearly three years ago – the message is clear
    TEDx Talk
    Compost king: Paul Sellew at TEDxBoston

    Published on Jul 12, 2013

    How can trash fuel our world?

    It is time to re-purpose organic waste to fight three critical and urgent battles — waste management, energy, and agriculture.


    and there could be even more and further synergies – only time will tell

  3. William Boeder

    April 7, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Some years ago a poo to power generating contraption was created and built in a well populated are in New Guinea to deal with the human waste that was so very evident no matter where one cast one’s eyes.

    So along came this poo to power contraption all set up and ready to go.
    The project proved to be an absolute failure, why, how come etc?
    The reason for the failure was that the native New Guinea people could not be convinced that they should carry there body waste on the end of a stick to deliver said waste to the distant (or even nearby) ‘poo into energy’ contraption.
    Maybe there is some true meaning in the term ‘native cunning’ after all.

  4. Chris Harries

    April 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Good Frank (#31)

    The most unloved biomass of all is our poo.

    Yet we fork out a lot of taxpayer money to dispose of it, but without utilising it in digesters to turn it into an energy resource.

  5. Frank again

    April 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    RE #29
    … “The situation we have is a shortage of energy but not power. The power stations are still working just fine, it’s just that we’re short on water (energy) to put into them.”

    When we call energy = feedstock, then we can see that Tasmania is one of the places that have so much (what I call) ‘unloved biomass’ in our landscape, around infrastructure, at waste transfer stations, etc-etc. and lots of taxpayer funds are used to send this obvious unloved energy in the form of smoke clouds overseas or as woodchips for shipped off to far away places.
    This is the stuck / paralyzed situation in Tasmania.
    We pay people to come along with a Helitorch https://www.google.com.au/search?q=helitorch&biw=1188&bih=546&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiy94nLyP3LAhVFlZQKHcWCBv8QsAQIJA

    and the well known Driptorches – it’s all too easy – just lighted it, stand back and let it burn. …

    Tassie had it too easy when it comes to energy for a very long time – so waste and wasting opportunities are the norm.

    Only time will tell.

  6. Chris Harries

    April 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Good clarification, Shaun(#29). Power is often used by media as a colloquial term to represent electrical energy, but strictly speaking it’s incorrect. We get a power bill but really it’s energy bill.

    Another interesting aspect is the difference between rainfall and water inflows. Tasmania’s rainfall data shows that we get a fairly even distribution of rain through a typical year. February / March tend to be our lowest rainfall months and we get s slight peak around October / November. But it’s not very spiky.

    Hydro’s water inflows, on the other hand, are very spiky, peaking sharply around July / August and almost regardless of rainfall. It’s all to do with soil dryness indices.

    This factor is the reason Hydro Tas and Minister Groom are confident that we will survive the current crisis in the next three months ok, even if only barely. We just need a very average Winter to help restore impoundment levels. They don’t have to wait for unusually heavy rains.

    Mind you, they won’t rest too easily until Basslink is repaired.

  7. Shaun

    April 7, 2016 at 6:29 am


    There’s two things to measure here – “power” and “energy”. The two are related but not the same.

    Energy – that’s how much. It’s like saying you drove 200km from Launceston to Hobart. What it doesn’t tell you is how fast you traveled since driving at even 10 KM/h will still get you there eventually.

    Power – that’s the rate at which it was used. That’s like saying you traveled at 100 KM/h. What it doesn’t tell you is how far you actually went – could have been just Kingston to Hobart or it could have been all the way to Burnie.

    Power is what’s needed in the context of meeting demand, and how much power is used over a given period gives us the energy production figure.

    The situation we have is a shortage of energy but not power. The power stations are still working just fine, it’s just that we’re short on water (energy) to put into them.

    So just as a car can still do top speed with the fuel tank almost empty, so too the hydro system can still produce almost its full peak power rating despite the low storage levels (there’s a minor loss but not much).

    So we don’t have a problem meeting peak demand in Winter. What we have is a problem with running out of fuel which, if the lakes do actually dry up, will put the lights out completely (apart from whatever gas, diesel etc we have).

    Storage management really comes down to (1) making sure that the water is reasonably distributed so that each power station has some and can thus operate to meet peak demand and (2) doing so in a manner that avoids the small dams filling and spilling when it rains (and yes, it’s raining to some extent even with the drought).

    So the reason Hydro has maintained higher % levels in the small dams is simply to enable use of the associated power stations when required to meet periods of high demand or if, for example, there were to be a breakdown elsewhere in the system. Even at two thirds full, the Pieman still has less energy in storage than Lake Gordon does at 6% of capacity.

    As the rain starts to fall (it will happen!) Hydro will simply shift the role of the power stations drawing on the smaller storages from occasional use (peaks) to more constant use (base load) and vice versa for the stations using water from the major storages. That has no effect on the ability to meet peak demand, but shifts energy (water use) to make use of the incoming water at places where not much can be stored thus avoiding spill whilst holding back (in storage) the incoming water at the larger lakes.

    Based on present circumstances and what is reasonably foreseeable, I’m not even slightly concerned that there would be a problem with meeting peak demand as such. For that to be a major problem, we’d be so short on water that outright rationing 24/7 would be the outcome, not just a blackout when everyone cooks dinner all at once.

  8. Chris Harries

    April 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    On the issue of load shedding, in many place in the world and in Australia, power utilities generally incorporate load shedding agreements along with poor supply contracts with business and large institutions.

    Where power supply and electricity distribution infrastructures are constrained in their inability to supply peak load, or as a result of overload of poles and wires and transformers, it is in the interest of the power utilities to strike a deal with its customers to temporarily shed non-essential load in return for a price advantage – when such circumstances arise.

    Owing to Tasmania’s normally very stable power generation (i.e. not constrained by peaks) there has been little need to go down this path. The recent ad hoc load shedding agreements with four bulk power users has been done on the run, and for that purpose it has allowed some 100 MW to be offset. This has probably saved out bacon.

    We would be in a much better position to deal with this energy crisis if all load shedding opportunities had been identified across the board. This would be one of the primary recommendations I would make to the energy security triumvirate that is being set up, for future reference.

    On the plus side, for participating business, nearly every business needs to have some down time in order to plan and undertake maintenance schedules so structuring load shedding into power contracts can be helpful in this regard too.

  9. Luigi

    April 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Meanwhile, in response to malicious accusations by Bryan Green, Matthew Groom has announced that it is perfectly normal for Tas Networks to have contingency plans for load-shedding in the event of a power generation malfunction. These plans are perfectly normal and are rarely activated, even during extreme natural events.

    Occasionally, these plans may also be used in practice emergency management scenarios to train staff. To that end, Tasmania’s contingency plans will be tested from 1st May. From that date, the West Coast, Burnie, Devonport and Launceston regions will be “load-shed” on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and all weekend. These areas have been selected because of their failure to embrace voluntary power saving initiatives announced yesterday.

    On the basis of an office plebiscite in the Energy ministry, Hobart will be cut on Tuesday evenings from 11pm to 1 am. Minister Groom assured his Hobart staff that there would be no further blackouts – especially if it rained.

  10. Su Chan

    April 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    #22 and #20, I’ll have a second bite at it.

    While I am not Smurf, what he’s also said is that small storages like these are mainly intended for “peaking” power – to rev up generators for short times to cover spikes in demand. We could use them to fill general demand, for a day maybe, but then they’d be empty and unavailable to cover peak requirements, leading to brownouts, etc.

    Come to think of it, that may explain why Hydro has not gone gangbusters with gensets, and has only got 49MW of generation online. I think they plan to get Basslink back at full capacity, that plus all the emergency generation, plus adequate inflows (hopefully!) gives about 1600MW of production.

    Our Winter peak demand tops to ~1800MW, so maybe hydro is holding back these storages to meet that peak demand, which might only run for an hour or so. These small dams should be able to manage that.

  11. William Boeder

    April 5, 2016 at 3:20 am

    #17. Thank you Carole Rae a very worthwhile and entertaining link.
    #20. Isla MacGregor in reply to your question, the West Coast region of Tasmania still maintains a high frequency of rainfall so that may contribute to the water storage heights you had observed.
    #22. Thanks Luigi for the graphics display in your pdf link, with that sort of instant information one has to question how is it possible to allow the lake levels to be compromised by selling electricity on the sly to the mainland grid.

    Some individual person had made that selling decision, meanwhile I’ll heat up the tar and order a small ute-load of feathers for when that person is named.

  12. William Boeder

    April 5, 2016 at 2:41 am

    For those persons who are mystified as to how this State government can connive to fark over the people of Tasmania.
    The Government Business Enterprise Act 1995 has within it ‘a special allowance clause inserted into this Act’ which is specifically applicable to the State GBE of Forestry Tasmania.
    That clause provides ‘that unlike most other State GBE’s’ Forestry Tasmania have been excluded from the statute requirement in that ‘it must deliver a commercial return.’
    This is the sort of legislative gimcrackery that can be resorted to by slippery sly-skunk-like State governments to maintain a non-viable GBE so that it can remain a perpetual non-commercially viable business.

    T’was here that I found this little gem while patrolling through the boundaries of the ‘Federal Government Business Enterprises Act 1995.’

    One must never allow one’s self to be fooled into thinking that the State government of Tasmania govern for the rights of, or for the benefit of, the citizen people of this State.

  13. Shaun

    April 5, 2016 at 12:49 am

    #20 The small lakes have high inflows relative to their storage capacity and are thus managed to “target” levels.

    The aim is to not be empty and not be full (since that would result in spill), hence a “target” level according to season, forecast rainfall and so on.

    It’s worth noting in this context that just under a third of generation is from the major storages, hence the difficulty in rapidly refilling the system, and that the “small” dams collectively generate more power than the “big” ones.

  14. Luigi

    April 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    #20. I’ll have a go at it as a layman. 🙂

    The Hydro’s energy in storage summary is here: http://www.hydro.com.au/system/files/water-storage/storage.pdf

    It shows the west coast dams as being mostly fullish. But their overall contribution to the total energy in storage is not great.

    Energy in storage is dependent on the amount of water AND the height at which it is held. Simply, water in a small holding near the bottom of the hill is less useful than water in a big lake at the top of the hill. So, Great Lake and Lake Gordon water is best; the lower dams less so.

    As examples, Lake Plimsoll is about 73% full, but has only 20GWh of energy. Great Lake is only 11.2% full but still has 735 GWh of energy.

    There are excellent explanations of how the Hydro manages this on this Whirlpool thread (especially posts by Smurf): http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2490635

  15. Mike Bolan

    April 4, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Perhaps they’re not being ‘managed’ by Hydro?

  16. Isla MacGregor

    April 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I have just returned from the West Coast and can some one please explain why Lakes Pieman, Rosebery and Plimsoll all appear to be full?

  17. Mike

    April 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    #14. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of drink driving accidents into the cost of climate change equation as well. People would not drink as much beer if it were not so hot.

  18. Depressed

    April 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Agreed Chris Harries #14.

    I believe however that we might get very cold winter periods … flip-flop weather, going from hot summers to cold winters, or at least short periods of great cold.

    There was a documentary about Global Weirding, which suggested extremes of weather was the new norm, rather than just gentle warming.

  19. Carol Rea

    April 4, 2016 at 6:06 am

    Time to trompe it up. Bill Mollison of Stanley has the solution. Clean energy, no residuals, no problems. Watch the last two minutes and you will be intrigued enough to watch the whole half hour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9NqqDL6bkk

  20. mike seabrook

    April 3, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    anyone seen an announcement on the asx for if any insurance company is on the hook for the bass strait cable losses and for the losses in full absorption cost generating of electricity by diesel generators at est. 30c per kwh with most of this sold to the major industrials at est. 4c per kwh.

    guess the tassie hydro/tas treasury and tassie taxpayers are on the hook.

    and for how long

  21. Mike Bolan

    April 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    #9 & 10 Right on gentlemen. The Empire’s prison island of Tasmania has been taken over by Australians who copied the colonial British, using the same methods, the same laws and the same attitudes of entitlement and dominance…even still using the ‘Crown’ as a cover and retaining the Governor structure as a reward for favours. In other words, the structure is entirely undemocratic – it is colonial.

    The notion of democracy is used to persuade us that we have some hope of real change, even that we too might join the gravy train as long as we comply!
    This fantasy has worked for decades to advantage those who grease the right palms. Trouble now is that the systems are becoming too difficult for the privileged to run successfully. Climate changes have made irrelevant a lot of the old methods, new technologies are informing citizens of problems and solutions before our public services can even understand the issues.

    Frighteningly the current situation is the best they can do!!

    The old methods of retaining power by bluster and bullying won’t work for much longer. Power and water problems, sea level changes, loss of jobs and business (who can invest in a powerless state?) and other difficulties are going to overwhelm our weakened system and, via social media, the people can actually speak – even if a lot of that is trolling and desperate pleas for a return to the old days!

  22. Chris Harries

    April 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    John Lawrence, if you are listening….. I think that it’s time for someone who has got financial skills to construct a back-of-the-envelope cost of climate change in relation to Tasmania.

    The reason that nobody (not even Treasury) has done this yet is that there is not an admission or concrete proof that climate change is dramatically causing a lot of disruption. This summer should put to rest any such caution.

    Without being reckless, it is possible tout some reasonable figures on paper.

    Loss of long term power output from our hydro system = approx 15 percent of output = approx a loss of $1 billion in generating infrastructure.

    Increased annual cost of servicing the Tas Fire Service, aircraft and other infrastructure = approx $100 million.

    Cost to fish farm operations frumpish and oyster diseases caused by increased sea temperatures = approx $50million.

    Cost to farmers for dealing crops caused by unseasonal weather including drought and floods (this year it’s potato farmers) = approx $100 million.

    Cost to fruit growers for dormant winters not being cold enough for some crops =$???

    And so on. I’ve barely started.

    Then there are all the one-off costs such as diesel generation and having to recover Dunalley township and the huge cost of fire fighting this Summer and the damaged tourism brand that those fires incurred, including having to evacuate our most famous tourist icon in the middle of summer.

    Then there are the many extrapolated costs…. what will be the health costs when we get 5 times the number of extreme weather events.

    I’ve hardly started and these figures are just thrown up as notional.

    This is a very important exercise because government thinks mainly through the lens of the economy, and when the truth strikes home about what we are in for – at his pointy end of climate change – only then will they stir from their complacency and realise the monumental train wreck that is unfolding.

  23. William Boeder

    April 2, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    11. Dave, in true democratic tradition this is information that is kept hidden from the citizens of Tasmania.
    A hypothetical statement can run along these suggested lines; “that the State government cannot afford the risks of allowing the State’s citizens to know all about the hanky-panky that goes on in the dark hours of the night, if they did we’ll all get the bloody sack.”
    “Usually when there is trouble looming we quickly legislate a new statute or twist an existing one to cover the anomaly that has become an embarrassment or is something that may have some criminal stench element about it.”
    “Sometimes we just repeal a statute that may land us in deep shite.”
    “Under no circumstances do we allow anybody from the public arena to hose down our GBE books or even our own to find out about our in-house predetermined budget diversionary strategies.”
    “We in government make absolutely certain that we do not allow a forensic examination of our State revenue expenditures by some clever or even qualified public individual, to come a’snooping into the finer detail of what we get up to.”
    “We simply can’t afford for this type of public admission nonsense to allow a probe into our favours for mates and other chicanery that we get up to.”
    “Why do you think we have such a mountain of Commercial in Confidence rulings over so many of our GBE financial dealings.”

    Sorry I cannot be more informative Dave, as the odds are always stacked against any fully transparent disclosures by any of our State’s ministers.

  24. Luigi

    April 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Solution to all our woes: operate pokies as a GBE.

  25. Dave Parsell

    April 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Is Hydro insolvent? Great question, is Tasmania insolvent?

  26. William Boeder

    April 2, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Dear Depressed, please note that despite the number of calamities, inconceivably cocked-up decisions, then the absence of anybody in this State where the buck stops, this is why there is no iota of a regulatory authority or a Big Cahuna to haul the State GBE’s back into line then tell them they are here to serve the people of Tasmania.
    Take Forestry Tasmania for example, can any person here believe that this GBE deserves an award for providing annual dividends year after year, then that they are fully transparent business operation?
    How about the EPA authority, were they on the job the State’s rivers would not be poisoned with carcinogens, agriculture chemicals and fertilizers.
    Does anybody in this State recall if the Public Trustee for example has ever had an external audit, somebody to ensure that the volume of statutes that are in place to slow down the opportunisms of individual acts of personal enrichments that may well have occurred,
    Q.who knows?
    A. Nobody.
    One very large group of people that are constantly kept in the dark at all times no matter the GBE as we the State’s citizens form as all the Tasmanian shareholders of these GBE fiefdoms.
    Considering that Tasmania is more of a large Shire than a busy bustling State where all of the State’s officials either play golf together or meet up at the Yacht club after a day spent listening to customer complaints or bitching about some small oversight, any wonder when people begin bitching about some sort of problem they have, ait is no great mystery that the non-profit orientated GBE CEO’s and Directors clamour for a drink after a day at the coalface.
    Profits you say? well they may say, Listen here sport we don’t have enough hours in our day to worry about generating profits, Skeeter looks after the office Tattslotto syndicate right, sally doesn’t do much because she is someone important’s daughter, so we just put up with her natter all day long, oh by the way we need a new tea-lady as well, ah what a bastard of a week its been, had the nosey bloody accountant poking about the place asking for this document and that document, I didn’t have the heart to tell him those letters had simply been tossed into the dirt tin.
    Recently I spent a few hours reading up on how Tasmania’s electricity charges for domestic consumers are reliant on so many different sets of events, then the parity of electricity costs in line or out of line with Australia’s other State’s.
    Yes, in fact help is at hand, a 218 page dossier or annual summary of all sorts of jiggery pokey reasons for the brighter type of person to wade through and be none the wiser after having done so.
    One has to wonder why there are so many knowns and unknowns that seem to form a battle line in the effort to keep this bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo information in such a state of confusion that this State is somewhat fortunate that our Energy Regulator Glenn Appleyard has to worry about the claptrap content, Fancy it is that he has not leapt off the Hobart Bridge.
    After having waded through all that guff there is nothing available in that compendium of ifs buts and alternatives based on who has and who hasn’t provided the statistical information to enable any degree of sense to it all.
    So don’t go looking into that 218 page of maybe’s and ideals, then that this in itself is subject to certain events that really have no certainty about them whatsoever.
    The first mistake is to look for the indicators as to how much the domestic consumer is charged or going to be charged for our quarterly seasonal usage of electricity, now I defy any man, woman or even a clever teenage student or even Glenn Appleyard himself, could confidentially state a certain charge for either tariff 31 and 42, or 31 and 41 or maybe tariffs 41 and 42.
    Then to top it all off there are the corporate fat-cats pissing and moaning that they have to pay around 4 cents per kwh.
    So I thought, help is at and, yep I found a pdf link to a 218 page file that is available via the following link:

    My respect for the minds of fellow forum attendees suggest you download the entire of this voluminous 218 pages, (don’t begin to read any of it) and dress it all up nicely for presentation to somebody who gives you the shits or is a pestilential drop kick, or maybe an enemy of the family.
    But most importantly be thankful you did not turn a single page of that mysterious, nay suspicious looking dossier.

  27. Simon Warriner

    April 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    re 8, add in the Education problems including the Tafe debacle, The Fire Service failure to act competently for 6 days in the face of an unprecedented emergency and the resulting costs financial and otherwise, the failure of the inquiry into the last TFS cock-up at Dunalley to fix the problems within the TFS approach to bushfire response, the state of the health system, and the failure of the corporatisation of our water and sewerage system to fix its many problems despite raising the cost to the consumer by upwards of 100% and the list is looking a little more complete. Doubtless the list could be added to, but the argument is only strengthened by addition.

    All problems are ultimately leadership problems.

    The common denominator in all the above is that we consistently elect the wrong sort of people to oversee the public service and GBE’s whose actions are at the root of all these problems. Those who either do not understand or are prepared to accept conflicted interests are incapable of delivering a public service structure that is staffed, structured and managed to minimise corruption, incompetence and nepotism in all their myriad of presentations. Party politicians bath in conflicted interest and are clearly the problem. If they were not, the problems would have been fixed long ago, or never allowed to exist in the first place. Those problems have not been fixed, they keep getting worse, and they are multiplying. The presence of un-conflicted independent politicians would sharpen the focus on performance and the reasons for its absence.

    Could their presence and that focus deliver anything worse than what we have now?

    What evidence or reason is there that supports the argument that repeating the election of a party dominated government will improve anything?

  28. Depressed

    April 1, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    – the govt-sanctioned Derwent estuary pollution
    – the pulping of valuable specialty timbers
    – the Gunns pulp mill debacle
    – the MIS plantation debacle
    – the fox farce
    – Lake Pedder (both the dam and PCB contamination)
    – the integrity mob debacle
    – the electricity debacle

    The benefit of doubt is surely gone … this state is incompetently and/or corruptly managed.

    Or just very unlucky.

    Either someone is making big bucks from these duds, or it has all been planned by something akin to The Three Stooges.

    Seriously, what’s next?

  29. Chris

    April 1, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Simple solution, its my way of doin it, cede the poker machines to the HEC and they can electronically make a return for Gut Whiner and Gormless.

  30. mike seabrook

    March 31, 2016 at 10:44 pm


    and also the long term contract signed by the tas rail directors with toll holdings

    so we have tas rail, tas hydro and tas forestry, don’t know about tas ports

    What qualifications do these polly appointed directors have and whose agenda are they running?

    and then there is the abt railway debacle handed back to the tassie taxpayer when the casino reneged on promises made.

  31. Luigi

    March 31, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    #4 That’s the key issue: Long term contracts to sell a good for vastly less than the cost of production. That’s a great way to go broke in any business.

    The parallels with Forestry Tas are compelling.

  32. mike seabrook

    March 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    depends on the contracts signed up for sales to the major industrials

    how about a statement from the auditor general

    full absorption cost of electricity generation from diesel at est. 30c per kwh and selling most of this electricity to the major industrials/ aluminium smelter at est 4c per kwh

    who signed these secretive commercial in confidence contracts

  33. William Boeder

    March 31, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    John Lawrence you raise another interesting subject matter when you begin to discuss insolvent Government Business Enterprises and this State Owned public non-financial corporations sector.
    (Pay attention to the difference between public non-financial and public financial)
    Looking down my list of the latter there a quite a number of them 14 to be precise, then followed by Public Financial Corporations Sector that numbers 2 entities, Motor Accidents Insurance Board, (it actually earns profits) then the Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation. see below.
    I am unsure of what it is this Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation serves to the Tasmanian Public citizens.


    I dare not enter the field of expertise that John Lawrence performs so well, I would just like to state that there are currently 5 others that can be found to be making money backwards.
    Just for starters Tasracing P/L is a government funded outfit with its own directors board of what can be best described as passenger directors.
    Metro Tasmania P/L is another that feeds off the teat of Tasmania’s treasury. No doubt they are another mob of directors that may well bring their swags and or sleeping bags to work each day.

    Tasmanian Ports Corporation P/L, or simply Tasports P/L, another State entity that has no mention of profits in its objectives.
    Tasrail P/L) is another weeping wound on the State.
    Then we must not overlook the most expensive non-profit oriented Tasmanian Business entity, being Forestry Tasmania.
    Most of the State’s business entities will feature either Dan Norton, Miles Hampton or the retired Don Challen as either a chairman a past chairman or director.
    Thus we have a minimum of 5 State Business entities that have a board of directors who spend their time overseeing the annual losses they manage to deliver each year with a remarkable level of success.

    One must bear in mind that the GBE act 1995 requires each of the above to generate profitable returns each year, however it seems the legislated statutes applicable to all GBE’s seem largely a myth rather than a legislated requirement.
    A person wanting to commence litigation upon the State for their delinquent action in allowing a full range of statute breaches across many of their GBE’s, would find themselves in having a very strong position when it comes to the evidence available.

    Inevitably the State government would be looking to settle out of court to the tune of whatever monies were sought by the litigant’s Queens Counsel assigned to presenting the case through the Federal Court on Australia’s mainland.

    What is your opinion John Lawrence?

  34. Luigi

    March 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    A GBE that doesn’t earn money – indeed, loses mountains of it – is probably technically insolvent. But does that really matter? Just look at Forestry Tas. I think it only matters to the government that was addicted to its dividends to feed its bloated, wasteful bureaucracy.

    In our current impecunious state, it means that other GBEs will have to go further into debt to make up the shortfall. I just hope TT Line doesn’t want to buy any new boats soon.

  35. john hayward

    March 31, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    If the Turnbull autonomic tax scheme gets up and the Tas Govt gets its hands on all that untied health and education money – Hydro problem solved.

    John Hayward

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