Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard went on the front foot against rising electricity prices yesterday (August 7) in a widely reported speech to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia. The full speech is here.
With respect, there’s a lot that Wattwatchers technology can do to help change the power paradigm of the nation. Here’s some examples from PM Gillard’s speech:
PM – ‘As a recent AGL Energy review noted, while wealthier households can cut power costs through more efficient devices and solar panels, the poorest customers are exposed to the full cost of the increases.’
WW – Data that enables expert advice for high energy consuming, low income homes is a critical support opportunity to reduce bills pressure for the most needy.
PM – ‘At the bottom of all this is this economic reality: the market for supplying energy services in Australia needs to be more efficient. Take the current handling of peak power demands. One quarter of all retail electricity costs – more than $500 a year for a typical family – is spent to meet the costs of peak events that last for less than two days each year in total. One sixth of our national electricity networks – $11 billion in infrastructure – caters for peak events that last for barely four days per year. It’s like building a ten lane freeway – but with two lanes that are only used or needed for one long weekend.’
WW – Better data is the answer to the old business truth that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
PM – ‘A typical household in New South Wales is paying over a thousand dollars more for power every year compared to four years ago. And while due to a number of factors electricity demand is falling overall, families and pensioners are facing higher prices – even for those who are trying to do the right thing and cut their use.’
WW – There’s high value on offer if savings are unlocked via better informed consumers.
JG – ‘People need and deserve more choice and control. Already, the Federal Government has taken important steps to do this. But we want to put even more effective control in the hands of energy users, in the hands of working people, pensioners, owners of small businesses.’
WW – What can we say? ‘Even more effective control’ is what Wattwatchers does.
JG – ‘People should be able to use what they want when they want it and cut out expensive services they don’t need. Picture a smart phone app that means you can load the clothes dryer or a dishwasher before you leave home – and then turn it on when a low cost rate becomes available during the day. Or consider new technology so home air conditioners can switch themselves between high and low power mode, keeping a house cool while limiting use in high-cost periods of peak demand. Or in the same way many people use a travel agent or a mortgage broker to get the best bargains, small businesses could hire a clean energy adviser to analyse the data about their business’s energy consumption and find a better deal.’
WW – All good, we can help with this energy services future, independently of utility roll-outs and networks or in tandem with them.
JG – This is the future of the price of electricity in Australia.
More efficient investment.
More empowered consumers.
Real delivery from the States and Territories on our agreed priorities for change.
Much slower price rises over time.
WW – Bring it on!
JG – This is the future of Australian energy market reform.
New ideas and new understandings of the possibilities smart technology holds.
Energy services, not just electricity supply.
Clean generation, productive distribution, efficient use.
A rational, efficient price signal to cut carbon pollution.
Remaking the mix of power generation … and remaking the networks which deliver power services.
More renewable energy, more distributed generation … better management of demand.
WW – All doable!
JG – And in turn, this is a smart, affordable, clean energy future.
WW – We all want that, don’t we?