Help wanted on power prices

JC has asked if I can do a comparison of Australian power prices with other nations. I can’t answer the question because I think it is too hard.

There is so much variation at all levels of distribution, given the way the wholesale price is set almost from minute to minute, the way retailers have to buy it and then bill users depending on the deal they have got at the time.

I went to a presentation by someone who was supposed to know how the system works but I came out more confused than I went in, and I was not the only one, because we did not expect the degree of complexity and he did not explain it effectively.

There must be people on the site who can help and I will be keen to see what they tell us.

I am sure Angus Taylor is on top of it but I don’t have his number.

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52 Responses to Help wanted on power prices

  1. It is folly to compare the value of electricity in terms of cents per kilowatt hour.
    While it is commonplace to consider electricity an undifferentiated product, nothing could be further from the truth.
    The value of electricity like most things depends upon its QUALITY among other characteristics.
    A quality product in this case is affordable, reliable, and secure. In addition, strict adherence to a specific frequency, a specified voltage, and a unity power factor are important.
    In this country, as well as other Western countries, this quality has come to be taken for granted. But it is not always the case in every jurisdiction.
    For example, I lived for several months in a work camp where the electricity was supplied by a diesel gen set. It was only run for certain periods of the day, if it would start at all. If it was running, the frequency and voltage would vary all over the place as loads cut in and cut out. This was fifty years ago, but in many jurisdictions around the world this sort to thing is the norm. If the madness of adding more ruinables to the system in Australia, it will be the norm here. How do you compare the price of that product to the product to which we have become accustomed?

  2. 2dogs

    This report? Seems a credible enough source and data.

  3. Dorothy

    His number is 9658 7188
    Not that it will do much good
    They are all such a disappointment!!!
    Low resolution intelligence!!

  4. Confused Old Misfit

    I am sure Angus Taylor is on top of it but I don’t have his number.

    I very much doubt that!
    Our position in the pantheon of world power prices matters less than the effect of local power prices on our ability to compete in the global market place as both producers and consumers. If we strangle our ability to buy and sell to the world then we will rapidly become a third rate country with third rate living standards. This insane grasping for the ideological purity of renewable energy is going to cos t Australia (and Canada among others) their hard won social benefits. Gone will be fee/low cost health care. Gone will be unemployment benefits. Gone will be single mothers allowances. It won;”t happen all at once. But it will happen.

  5. Rafe Champion

    Sorry I was being sarcastic again:)

  6. Confused Old Misfit

    I don;t know how this will format/not format but here are some number from the Nova Scotia Power in Nova Scotia Canada
    Residential Small Commercial Commercial
    Customer Charge 10.38
    Energy Charge/Kwh 0.15331
    FAM 0
    Base Charge 12.65
    $/kwh for1st 200kwh 0.15993
    $/kwh for next kwh 0.14179
    FAM 0
    Demand Charge/mo/kw max demand 10.497
    $/kwh for1st 200kwh/mo/kw max demand 0.11897
    $/kwh for next kwh 0.8618

    Al in $CDN.
    As you can see, they make comparisons difficult. There are aslo rates for small, medium and large industry.

  7. Confused Old Misfit

    Rafe Champion
    #2863610, posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Sorry I was being sarcastic again:)

    I suspected as much!
    I see my NS Power data didn’t format at all well.
    Customer charges refer to residential rate; Base charges to small commercial; demand charges to commercial.

  8. alan moran

    This paper has info on pages 6 onwards

  9. Aussieute

    Try Anton Lang alias TonyfromOz @ https://papundits.wordpress.com/
    If he can’t assist he will know who could do so

  10. Rafe Champion

    No shortage of information, like coal, oil and gas, the more you look the more you find.

    2 dogs thanks, also on your page there is a link to a handy page on the timetable for closures of coal fired stations and the unreliables that are coming on stream to replace them. Fair dinkum, Jules Verne was not in the race with these science fiction writers!

  11. stackja

    Give price minus subside.
    Before scam, kwh and price.
    Now much confusion.
    Now I just use what I need.

  12. Mark A

    stackja
    #2863637, posted on November 13, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Give price minus subside.
    Before scam, kwh and price.
    Now much confusion.
    Now I just use what I need.

    You will find that a great portion of your bill is the fixed supply charge, usage makes up a part of it sure, but you cant avoid the base charge, which is quite significant.

  13. RobK

    Thanks Alan,
    A Good paper.

  14. LBloveday

    Rafe Champion
    #2863610, posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:52 pm
    Sorry I was being sarcastic again:)

    Note Poe’s Law: “Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views

  15. Yohan

    Any country to country comparison should include network/supply charges and other fees the consumer pays.

  16. BoyfromTottenham

    Rafe, rather than trying to compare retail pricing, it might be easier and more revealing to compare renewable power legislation. The similarities between say the Australian RET legislation and similar, precedent legislation in the EU, the UK, Canada are remarkable, despite minor tweaks and different nomenclature. How did this come about? Which parties supported it, which party introduced it, etc. Any amateur sleuths out there needing a case to solve?

  17. Anthony

    Had a quick chat to a mate in northern Norway. His small family pays the equivalent of AU$60/quarter for electricity.

  18. Nob

    Norway has had cheap hydro power for decades, courtesy of a small population and over 1000 dams.

    When I first went there in 1979 after working in gloomy Britain for a few months, I was amazed at how everyone had lights on the whole time.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle

    See Paul Homewood’s site:

    EU Electricity Prices & Renewable Energy

    Electricity Cost v Renewable Capacity

    I’ve seen some others like this, but I’m on the road and don’t have my bookmarked links.

    A good US dataset is available here:

    Electric Power Monthly

    This is up until Aug 2018.

  20. Julian

    All US energy costs monitored here. Very transparent.
    https://www.eia.gov/electricity/

  21. Herodotus

    Wind and solar might be fine for off-grid homes as a primary source or as an intermittent replacement for grid supplied power. But they should never have been integrated into the national grid with all the stuffing up of the costs and stuffing up of grid stability.
    It is a mess created by politicians reacting to activistm and dodgy science pushed by the UN and sundry leftists who exploit every, repeat every, fissure in our formerly cohesive and more or less functional western democracies.
    The list of idiocies that have taken root and driven sensible policies away grows by the day.

  22. hzhousewife

    Some of the comments under these articles are interesting:
    ……………………………………………………..
    Why is hydro not considered renewable?
    In that case Norway would come as 1. in renewable installations.
    ……………………………………………………..
    Because to count hydro would put many countries way above the “target” for reducing CO2 emissions and therefore not need wind and solar.
    They want to force the use of wind and solar.
    They only count hydro when they need to beef up there figures to show how much “renewables” they have.
    Its a “moving the goalposts” thing.
    …………………………………………………………………………….
    In Ontario, they run the generating station at Niagara Falls at far less than capacity so that wind and solar can be used. In fact, wind and solar must be used first (by law) followed by other forms of electricity generation. Do you just love ideology!

  23. Rossini

    I thought it was only Australia that was F***** but from reading this blog it appears the whole wold is in the same boat!

  24. Mark A

    Rossini
    #2863812, posted on November 14, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I thought it was only Australia that was F***** but from reading this blog it appears the whole wold is in the same boat!

    Not wrong there.
    Where we are living at present, the electric Co. only started charging for fixed supply less than a year ago. Before that it was usage only .
    On top of that, the gov. is promoting solar with subsidies, admittedly it’s part of the EU initiative, but still.

  25. For example, I lived for several months in a work camp where the electricity was supplied by a diesel gen set. It was only run for certain periods of the day, if it would start at all. If it was running, the frequency and voltage would vary all over the place as loads cut in and cut out. This was fifty years ago, but in many jurisdictions around the world this sort to thing is the norm.

    I live in a seaside resort 150 km from Melbourne, for the past couple of years in summer the voltage has varied from a morning peak of 245 volts to an afternoon low of 209 volts, at this low the frequency and power factor is all over the place and my solar inverter drops out. This is the here and now not the future.

  26. DaveR

    It is so common to see renewable project costs (proposed and existing) significantly underquoted as installation costs divided by nameplate output as the prime measure of its capital cost, and simlarly, direct operating costs divided by nameplate capacity as its operating cost. I have seen this method end up underquoting actual capital costs and operating costs per KWhr output by at least 75%. Unfortunately these convenient figures are uncritically used by the MSM and our hapless politicians.

    Perhaps the nation should adopt a standard for quoting renewable energy project costs along the following lines:

    Power output = actual project output from comparable farm/array data, not nameplate capacity
    Capital costs = project direct cost + new transmission line costs + back-up facility cost (whether newly constructed or existing generator)
    Operating costs = direct operating costs + maintenance schedule costs + transmission costs + back-up facility costs (all including depreciation)

    Only on a basis something like this will the true costs of renewables be available to the MSM and ordinary Australians, and hopefully our representative politicians.

  27. DaveR

    Similarly, Turnbull and Frydenberg’s Snowy 2.0 pumped storage must be seen as a part of the intermittent renewable energy sector, and its capital and operating costs (it is a net cost to the grid) must be spread over all those renewable projects in NSW and Vic linked to it.

    In this way, quoting the capital and operating costs of a new wind farm in, say, western Victoria, should include a cost allocation from the proposed Snowy 2.0 to properly account for its true cost to Australian taxpayers.

  28. .

    Norway has had cheap hydro power for decades, courtesy of a small population and over 1000 dams.

    That’s roughly double the amount of “large dams” we have.

    It is not as if Australia is bereft of rivers and seasonally high rainfall…

    Nope, we have to save the Boorolong Frog, Corroboree Frog, The Diamond Firetail, Macquarie Perch and the Olympic Dam Gecko and the Adani Coal Deposit Gecko.

  29. .

    Hydroelectric is not like solar or wind. At best it is peaking power as well as flood mitigation and drought proofing and at worst it is back up for less reliable solar and wind. Cheaper than Tesla batteries too.

  30. Confused Old Misfit

    There is no end to this insanity.
    CBA has figured out another way to get your tax dollar out of your pocket and into theirs.

    Commonwealth Bank will get 65 per cent of its energy from renewables starting in January after signing an agreement with the largest wind farm in New South Wales.

  31. Snoopy

    Dork on ABC claims the European Union is 46 years old.

  32. Diogenes

    I live in a seaside resort 150 km from Melbourne, for the past couple of years in summer the voltage has varied from a morning peak of 245 volts to an afternoon low of 209 volts, at this low the frequency and power factor is all over the place and my solar inverter drops out. This is the here and now not the future.

    And I point you at this https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-08/high-voltage-fuelling-increased-electricity-consumption/10460212

    There is one area where high voltage is definitely causing headaches, and that is for people who have installed rooftop solar systems.

    Pensioner Paul Ryan installed solar panels on his house in the Victorian town of Warragul more than a year ago, but for much of that time they have not been working.

    The system often has to shut off to protect itself from high voltages coming in from the grid.

    “It turned out to be a bit of a white elephant in a sense,” Mr Ryan told 7.30.

    If its on their ABC , and they are criticising it …..

  33. Muddy

    When communicating the costs of ruinables to those of us who would not know science if it approached us outside the local shops and asked for a donation, the key must be to convert the technical information into something more relatable. Without the real facts being understood by the broader population (excluding those with a vested interest in ruinables), the hard work that goes into this research will simply evaporate above people’s heads. Bizarre as it may read, what I’m suggesting is an alternative unit of measurement, to be used only when edjamahkating people … but I don’t know what.

  34. Kneel

    “Bizarre as it may read, what I’m suggesting is an alternative unit of measurement,…”

    How about nice and simple: quarterly electricity bills as a percentage of average weekly income.
    If the number is going up, it’s costing the average punter more.

  35. rickw

    Retail electricity prices in Guam are cheaper than Australia, that’s all you need to know:

    All generation is with imported diesel.

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=piti+power+plant+guam&client=safari&channel=iphone_bm&prmd=nimv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjp_qrN29LeAhWMKo8KHdNiD9cQ_AUIEygC#imgrc=EaQToY-3MbS9BM

    Distribution infrastructure is extremely expensive because of the need for it to be Typhoon
    Proof.

  36. Mark M

    It’s not a price, but, it is the KPI …

    Q. How many solar panels does it take to prevent a drought?

    Australian solar installations since 2001

    http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/analyses

    As of 30 September 2018, there are over 1.95 million PV installations in Australia, with a combined capacity of over 10.14 gigawatts.
    . . .

    A NEW REPORT by the Climate Council has found the severe drought gripping much of Australia has been exacerbated by [doomsday global warming].

    Key Finding:
    – Short-term drought solutions will be ultimately futile without concerted and rapid action to tackle [doomsday global warming]

    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/new-report-current-drought-exacerbated-by-climate-change/

  37. Mark M

    Trump wields his energy weapon.

    The tip of the spear when it comes to President Trump’s diplomacy is not the tongue of the diplomat, but the power of the pipeline.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/trump-wields-his-energy-weapon

    “The United States is now the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas, eating away at Washington’s past dependence on foreign producers and oil cartels.

    And that means the influence of petrostates like Iran and Russia and autocracies around the world.

    Trump calls it “energy dominance,” and the freedom it provides has undergirded many of the president’s decisions, from moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to re-imposing sanctions on Iran, according to administration sources.”

  38. Nope, we have to save the Boorolong Frog, Corroboree Frog, The Diamond Firetail, Macquarie Perch and the Olympic Dam Gecko and the Adani Coal Deposit Gecko.

    Not to mention the Trumble annual profit.

  39. Peter Campion

    A NEW REPORT by the Climate Council has found the severe drought gripping much of Australia has been exacerbated by [doomsday global warming].

    My region’s daily paper ran this Timtard dribble as “news” today. Here’s the spray they got from me…

    The Editor

    The Cairns Post owes me a new keyboard; I snorted coffee all over this one because there was no trigger warning on the article reposting the puerile propaganda of the Climate Clowncil (14/11).

    It’s just unbelievable that these frightbats (“school of public health and social work” – puh-lease…) can put out such drivel and have it rolled out as “news”.

    How in heck do they keep a straight face pontificating on “wetter wet seasons” when their Chief Clowncillor is none other than the legendary wrongologist Tim Flannery.

    Tim’s the bloke who got on Landline on 11/02/2007 and said, “So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems.”

    Frightened polliemuppets made Tim “Australian of the Year” and spent billions on east coast desalination plants that have never been used.

    It was extremely disrespectful to the trees that died to make the newspaper that this non-story was ever printed, and an apology is also owed to the electrons that were inconvenienced for the online edition.

    (170 words)
    Peter Campion
    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/team/
    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/landline/old-site/content/2006/s1844398.htm

  40. Leo G

    Dork on ABC claims the European Union is 46 years old.

    (S)he may have been a BBC dork who disdains the existence of the EEC before the UK’s Ted Heath signed the Accession Treaty in 1972 and who even now can’t tell the difference between the EEC, the EC, and the EU.

  41. Leo G

    A NEW REPORT by the Climate Council has found the severe drought gripping much of Australia has been exacerbated by [doomsday global warming]. exacerbating alarmist obsession gripping the Climate Council.

    FIFY

  42. Rafe Champion

    Muddy at 11.25
    When communicating the costs of ruinables to those of us who would not know science if it approached us outside the local shops and asked for a donation, the key must be to convert the technical information into something more relatable.

    +1. I am working on a script for a video to explain the choke point of wind and what that means for maintaining supply in high summer when demand is max.

    This does not touch the debate about warming and the function of CO2. Nothing to bore or freak out people who cant be bothered with the science or are not equipped to understand it.

    It is not party political. It has political implications but it is not a pitch for any party. It is not saying I want your vote, or Vote 1 Blogs.

    It shows the amount of power we need at max load and the shortfall between that level and the power we can get from the reliable sources – coal, gas and hydro.

    Max load is 28GW+ and coal tops out near 20. Figures required for max capacity of gas and hydro.

    We are probably short right now, as we approach the first summer without 1.6 GW that we used to get from Hazelwood (round down for less than 100% plated capacity).

    Consider the situation when we lose another 2GW at Liddell.

    No worry say the Greens, we have 20GW of Wind coming on line to add to the 5G we have now.

    Enter the choke point, the day of the year when SE wind fleet delivered 2.7% of plated capacity and the 29 days when the delivery was less than 10%,

    25G of plated capacity in the choke, worst case scenario, delivers 0.7GW Allow 5% to be generous and take in some of the other 29 days under 10%. That is 1.25GW.

    Solar is zero for half the day, so have a look at the gap between the max demand of 28+ and the total supply that you get by adding 18 (down from 20) from Coal, x from gas and y from hydro and 0.7 from Wind.

    If the system was at full stretch when we had both Hazelwood and Liddell, what happens when they are gone, replaced by 0.7 to 1.25GW of effective Wind power?

    Not to mention the cost of the subsidies, the poles and wires and doubling the cost of power for consumers.

    https://anero.id/energy/

  43. Rafe Champion

    Breaking news, Spain is at it again! 100% RE by2050. Eat your heart out Electricity Bill!

  44. Muddy

    It is not party political.

    That’s smart.
    I guess my point was that much of this seems a little abstract; the average human will understand more, or perhaps even respond in some way, to information that will materially affect their or their family’s immediate or near-immediate, circumstances. That’s natural. We are bombarded by so much information now (of all types), that I believe we subconsciously prioritise what we deem is important. The goal, then, is to get your type of information to the top of the priority list.

  45. Rafe Champion

    Nice work, this thread has become a gold mine of information!

    More on the same theme. Green energy the perfect scam.

  46. Muddy

    Green energy the perfect scam.

    Agreed.
    However, when targeting the average Joe and Jill Blow, telling them they’ve been sucked in by a scam may not be the best tactic. Nobody likes being told they’ve been a moron, even if they realise it’s true. In other words, the strategy for the proles needs to be different than the strategy targeting the Big Gaia frauds. I realise that isn’t the point of this thread, but I feel it is important to bear these observations of human behaviour in mind.

  47. Rafe

    Never mind the original point of the thread. The point is to connect with 3 or 4% of the punters who are currently likely to vote ALP or Geen and explain what that means.

  48. André M.

    Karabar says:
    >> How do you compare the price of that product to the product to which we have become accustomed?

    Kneel says:
    >> quarterly electricity bills as a percentage of average weekly income.

    How about combining the two?

    [I had a longer comment here explaining the metric, but for brevity I’ll just give the final example.]

    e.g hypothetically, imagine in one quarter there were 25000kWh transmitted within frequency spec with 10% loss into a region which had 60% of total electricity used by residential, and a residential median income of 65000 currency units per year and median electricity bill of 1500 currency units per year. Assume there were blackouts where demand would have been total 300kWh charged at 0.26 units per kilowatt-hour.

    (1500/4 + 300*0.26)/(65000/4)= 0.027 blackout adjusted cost burden.
    25000*0.90*0.60 = 13500 kWh estimated quality household delivery.
    Income-relative median cost per quality kilowatt-hour = 0.027 / 13500 = 2.0E-6 /kWh in that quarter.
    Not a “nice” looking number in scale but the aesthetics were not important.

    This is resilient to fluctuations in individual household income and consumption, as the median in the region would have to shift to alter the cost burden component. It penalises frequency errors and blackouts as being costs without a benefit. It allows international comparison.

    Questions? / comments? / stinging criticisms?

  49. bollux

    I think comparisons with other jurisdictions are nonsense. The only one that needs to be made is what the price and availability is now compared to 30 years ago, and why is it so? We’ve all been screwed at different rates by greater or lesser ratbags.

  50. How about this metric ?

    The number of businesses that have moved to another jurisdiction for cheaper electricity.

    e.g. my customer base

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