Saturday, March 03, 2012

Nymbodia & the NSW electricity heist

Over at his place, Clarence Valley Today, Mark's Theme Day: Electricity features the Nymbodia Hydro  electric plant. This is one photo from the post.

Mark wrote:

Built by the local ratepayers it provided electricity to Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Lismore and was the basis for the formation of the County Council which served the area for many decades until it was stolen corporatised by the NSW Government in the 1990's.

Stolen was right.

The original station reflected the dreams of Earle Page first as Mayor of South Grafton and then as Federal member. The idea of county councils as a vehicle for sharing resources between local councils was developed by Page while Mayor.

I covered the story of the ending of the electricity county councils in Social Change in New England 1950-2000 10: electricity & national competition policy.

Given what has happened since, the arguments put forward by the NSW Treasury to justify the heist look a tad jaded. In any event, there is no concealing the fact that it all represented another transfer of income and assets to Sydney without any form of compensation. 


Mark said...

What happened to our local county councils still riles me Jim. So much for national competition and cheaper prices.

Jim Belshaw said...

As it does me, too, Mark. Everybody just rolled over.

Greg said...

And me. The Shortland CC in Newcastle was similarly corporatised, asset stripped and moved to Sydney under the banner of Energy Australia. All without local compensation. And just to add insult to injury they also stripped Newcastle of the head office jobs that it provided.

BTW - I just paid my latest electricity account. Even though our usage was about 20% down thanks to a new solar HWS, our account was still nearly a whopping $1500 for six months. That is about $250 per month to run our home with the prospect of massive price increases to come. How do low income earners cope?

Jim Belshaw said...

Interesting, Greg. We now have Tablelands (me), Northern Rivers (Mark) and Hunter (you). Three areas, same story.