Media release: 10 November 2012
Greens NSW MP John Kaye will be questioning the O'Farrell government over the role of state-owned transmission company TransGrid in a threat to take a community activist to court over claims that the industry's inflated demand forecasts had resulted in 'gold plated' wires and poles and soaring household power bills.
('Electricity industry threatens farmer who dared to fight' Sydney Morning Herald 10 November http://j.mp/TxjQf5)
Dr Kaye said: "The national industry association of state-based
transmission entities like NSW's TransGrid has demanded that Bruce
Robertson, a member of the mid-north coast residents' group Manning
Alliance, retract a suggestion that the industry was hiding behind the myth
of rising peak demand to escape blame for the billions of dollars of
unnecessary investment in new infrastructure.
"Mr Robertson and the Manning Alliance has been at the centre of a debate
that has finally exposed absurdly inflated forecasts of electricity use and
the role they have played in soaring household power bills.
"They have been vilified by their local state MP and now they face a threat
of legal action for standing up for households and their local environment.
"If TransGrid feels it has been misrepresented it has every right to put
its side of the story. Trying to shut down debate on power prices is
incompatible with its role as a state-owned corporation.
"I’ll be seeking an explanation from Energy Minister Chris Hartcher when
parliament sits next week.
"If this matter continues I'll be moving to establish a parliamentary
inquiry into the role of TransGrid in any attempt to intimidate Mr
Robertson, the Manning Alliance and other organisations that is be part of
the debate on power prices.
"Instead of trying to silence their critics, TransGrid should own up to its
forecasting errors and admit that its got the peak demand badly wrong.
"Hiding behind the unrealistic reliability standards looks like a desperate
attempt to shift the blame to the previous Labor government. If it is left
unchallenged NSW will be at risk of repeating the same error with appalling
consequences for household electricity bills.
"Instead of allowing these companies to intimidate their critics with
threats of legal actions, the O'Farrell government should be holding
TransGrid to account for its role in soaring prices," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455