Freezing in the dark thanks to the electricity bill

Welcome to Bill Shorten’s brave new world, the German experience.

Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”. In response, Germans have picked up their axes and have headed to their forests in order to improve their sense of energy security – although foresters apparently take the view that this self-help measure is nothing more than blatant timber theft (see our post here).

German manufacturers – and other energy intensive industries – faced with escalating power bills are packing up and heading to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s (see our posts here and here and here). And the “green” dream of creating thousands of jobs in the wind industry has turned out to be just that: a dream (see our post here).

A handy piece by Don Aitkin (as usual).

An interesting reference to Ross Garnaut.

You say ‘Almost every reputable economist believes that a market mechanism like an emissions trading scheme is the best way to reduce carbon pollution.’ I shake my head again at that ignorant phrase, but how many of them have actually looked at the ‘challenge’ of global warming? Ross Garnaut didn’t, and said so. It was all too hard for him. Rubbish! None of it is very hard, for him, for you or for me. The basic science is accessible, but so many commentators refuse to look at it. They happily accept what they are told is the ‘settled science’.

That recalls the modelling that Garnaut used to plan our climate change strategy. With the Coalition in power, what about making the model public so we can see what sort of assumptions went into it?

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25 Responses to Freezing in the dark thanks to the electricity bill

  1. When they get to the US these German companies infatuate the various states competing to have them locate there. The Governors, legislators, mayors, and city councils all excitedly celebrate the vision that political power gets to direct economic development now and figure out how much taxpayer money to give the corporation so they will locate in their state and not another.

    Real estate Tax breaks, bonds to finance the HQ, leasebacks for a term less than the bonds are issued for, and other cronyistic inducement deals–then the Pols become reenforced that this is how an economy should work. The Corporatist Model that is light years away from free enterprise wins again. Ordinary taxpayers do not.

  2. Tel

    Economic suicide.

    More of a mercy killing, in Australia’s case.

    After all, the Germans are actually good at making stuff. They can afford to take it on the chin.

  3. handjive


    “Vermont is finding — like California and Germany before it — that the fastest way to a clean energy future is to close down local sources of power and import it from other regions.

    California gets more than half its energy from neighboring Arizona, Nevada and Washington State, the largest import energy bill in the nation.

    Both New York and New England are looking to Quebec hydro for future clean power.”
    * * *
    As more wildly fluctuating solar and wind energy is fed into the German power grid, the question of how to prevent blackouts has been elevated to urgent.

    Untersteller believes that Germany is headed on the wrong path and is in the process of repeating California’s 1990s blunders, which led to widespread rolling blackouts and a crippling of the Golden State’s power grid.

  4. Big_Nambas

    The Americans Frack their way to prosperity. ( no incident of water pollution found after 20 years of Fracking).

    While the Green/left piss their economies up against the wall.

  5. jupes

    Imagine if Australia had no climate change policies whatsoever and companies could generate power by the cheapest method possible.

    Our electricity should be cheaper than in the US because coal is cheaper than gas.

    But hey – 50% renewables to change the fucking weather!

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Well, its freezing in NSW right now. And if the Germans are already hacking at their forests, and it’s not even winter there yet, then they are really headed for trouble.

    That’s all worked out well, hasn’t it?

  7. Rabz

    Are we ever going to see an end to this infuriating, incomprehensible idiocy in our lifetimes?

  8. Blogstrop

    I’m astonished that hard-headed Germans, who traditionally looked for value and were intolerant of either deficits or inflation, got sucked in by this blatant fraud. To close down nuclear plants just because Japan had some which were badly placed smacks of blind panic. The voodoo economics surrounding so-called renewables (which should include both hydro and nuclear but doesn’t unless you build them) hasn’t stopped those German businesses from relocating to the USA. Politicians have to learn not to drink the eco-activist kool aid.

    Why is Australia not learning from all this?

  9. sabena

    We have already seen house fires this winter with people trying to heat their dwellings inappropriately.Price increases due to renewables are likely to add to the danger of this happening.Another asylum seeker boats/roof insulation tragedy in the making?

  10. incoherent rambler

    enervationto drain of energy or vitality

    So we can call renewables that can’t be sustained a technical enervation.

  11. Myrddin Seren

    They can afford to take it on the chin.

    Doing a little browsing around the site looking for sources on:

    Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid

    ( because it is important to check sources in case it turns out to be a dud and your whole argument gets tossed back in your face )

    the site itself admits there is some contradictory information out there:

    The online site of German news television station NTV writes of a threatening energy poverty taking hold in Europe and that”more and more people are unable to pay for the electricity that they consume. More than 300,000 German citizens are going to have their power shut off each year.”

    NTV cites a report from German nation daily Die Welt, which writes German power companies turned off the power for 321,539 people because of non-payment in 2012, up from 312,500 people in 2011.

    The reason for the high prices? NTV writes:

    “A reason for the increased number of power shutoffs is the rash expansion of renewable energies, which lead to higher energy prices.”

    Two years ago NoTricksZone reported on an article also from Die Welt who claimed that 600,000 households were getting their power cut off. The figures on power service cutoffs vary broadly. Whichever figure is correct, the scale of the social disaster is immense no matter how you look at it.

    It is not clear if these people are living disconnected in perpetuity or if they can scrape a bit of money together to get reconnected, perhaps to fall in to the same trap later on.

    in any event, it seems extraordinary that almost the only economic powerhouse in the EU is cheerfully consigning thousands to the cold and dark each year without a peep of protest at the injustice of the situation.

    It shows you how strong the Green movement is in Germany that these poor folk are just collateral damage to The Cause, even in bleeding heart Germany.

  12. Rafe Champion

    Thanks Myrddin, it looks as though the 800,000 figure is too high, maybe double counting people who drop in and out depending on their financial circumstances. Still it is shocking at any level in tens of thousands let alone hundreds of thousands.

    It would be interesting to see the time-frame for the price increases, presumably the psychological blow was cushioned by the “frog in saucepan” effect, also lack of comparison with any country in Europe that didn’t go down the renewables road. Or is there one?

  13. HRT

    Behind every successful solar and wind renewable lies a fossil fuel powered generator.

  14. .

    Stealing firewood is what the central planners want. Renewable, and price signals force changes in behaviour!

  15. I’m astonished that hard-headed Germans, who traditionally looked for value and were intolerant of either deficits or inflation, got sucked in by this blatant fraud.

    Blogstrop, there’s always been a paganistic/back to nature component inherent in Germanic culture. The Nazis tapped into it quite successfully. The average man on the six o’clock wagen is hard headed and has a reasonable idea that the AGW scam is a scam. It is the politicians and leaders who inhabit the disconnected reality who don’t.

  16. JonSan

    What about Australia where we are now paying $1.37 per day before turning on a single light or power point? I’ve checked and we are the only country where these punitive “connection fees”apply. Pure unadulterated theft.

  17. .

    I think you need to be clearer if you are referring to network fees, and we have those for power, water, gas and telephony in Australia.

    This from a NZ retailer:

  18. JonSan

    My mistake, they aren’t connection fees but rather “access fees”.

  19. .

    Americans don’t pay access fees?

    It just goes to show how we are getting screwed, they have had privatised, profitable power for a very long time, and among the cheapest in the world.

    We could have cheap nuclear, coal and hydro power for mass supply.

    At the home or office level, efficiency measures or rooftop solar without subsidies really could be cheap.

  20. Entropy

    That hey haven’t released the CPRS modelling is an indictment on Hunt and Hockey in particular. The most important are the assumptions underlying that modelling. Like the assumption that all major countries including our export competitors like Brazil etc would have an ETS by 2015, and no other scenario was contemplated! Or so I was told, so to remove all doubt it should be released.

  21. .


    What modelling?

    My bet: “hand made forecasts”.

  22. mundi

    Actually we should pay more access fees not less.

    The energy is produced for just 4c/kwhour at a coal station.

    We pay much higher than that as we pay for transmission and distribution whose cost is not directly in proportion with instantaneous load.

  23. mundi

    We are over paying for power because the grid is priced based on a social system. $5 per day connection fee and 4c/kwhour and the majority screams. $1 per day and 30c/kwhour and only the minority large consumers scream.

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