As we slowly risk becoming de-industrialised as effective, efficient and cheap energy sources are supplanted with the complete opposite, we now have to deal with an energy market that treats every customer with utter disdain. Energy providers are like banks, where they assume that existing customers will simply remain as customers because it’s too difficult to go looking for change. In many cases that may well be true, especially with the way banks provide information and when you’re often committed to credit card accounts, loans etc where to change means having to amend numerous payment accounts and experience other difficulties. Even the regular credit card replacement involves some angst as you sort through the necessary changes. When it comes to utilities, it’s a ‘little’ easier as you’re only transferring from one supplier to another and not changing your bank account, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless.
Living where we do and having only electricity connected, the price of which keeps rising insatiably, I get very frustrated when reading about all the supposed benefits of renewable energy, which never seem to eventuate. Once upon a time Australia had the cheapest energy in the world, but then things changed. For several decades now, we have heard how renewable energy is (or will shortly be) competitive with or even cheaper than traditional energy sources such as coal, gas or hydro, but we never see any tangible evidence of this happening. But what we do see are ever increasing power bills as cost effective sources of power disappear. Every year more wind and solar installations are approved, sustainable only due to taxpayer subsidies, yet no one seems willing to say enough is enough and that it’s time to exist without subsidies or admit that it’s not cost-effective and simply a boondoggle.
Across Australia (and indeed across the world), there has been a movement fighting the establishment and development of various forms of mining and energy production, including what’s known as ‘fracking’, which is a form of mining for oil and gas. It’s been a very strong movement in Gippsland in recent years, with a moratorium placed on any such mining for the time being by the state government, which has not reduced the feelings within the communities in Gippsland. Signs are on properties everywhere.
While we await global warming to arrive, winter has once again hit us with a vengeance, with the mercury failing to get above 10C once again all day. Now when we moved to the country, we understood that there were some things that we were giving up that are readily available to city dwellers and it was a price well worth paying. We haven’t actually given up all that much, but gained a hell of a lot more in return (that could be a post for another day). But winter heating is one area where our options are far less favourable.