Here's a story about lost opportunity. When the federal government's climate change advisor Ross Garnaut dared to take on the country's energy giants and the gold plating of their networks in March 2011 -- as part of the detailed updates of his climate change review -- he was howled down. Not just by the industry itself, but by the federal government.

Garnaut said electricity networks were effectively price-gouging customers by over-inflating estimates for the construction of poles and wires. He said that the cost of the carbon pricing scheme would be minor in comparison to the cost increases caused by the expansion of the network.