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Tips and rumours

Dec 19, 2012

Tips and rumours

ICAC exchange pits Fairfax vs News ... what you should see on your power bill ... IT gremlins at the AFR ...

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

ICAC just keeps delivering. A Crikey mole overheard a heated conversation last week between The Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate McClymont and The Australian’s NSW political reporter Imre Salusinszky at the ICAC inquiry into allegedly dodgy dealings by various NSW Labor heavies. McClymont and colleague Linton Besser had been working for weeks on an investigation into former NSW treasurer Michael Costa receiving millions of dollars worth of shares from a water company linked to powerbroker Eddie Obeid. Costa tipped off Salusinszky and the conservative crusader cobbled together a story for last Friday’s edition. The Oz — with typical chutzpah — labelled its Costa-friendly spoiler an “exclusive”.

After reading the story, we hear McClymont approached the former literary academic to ask if he was pleased with himself. When asked what she would have done in his position, McClymont’s response went along these lines: “I’d get off my arse for once and do my own work instead just running drip-fed spin from the Labor Right.”

The red notice you should see on your power bill. And now Crikey brings you … Bill Watch. We’ve had some excellent responses to our Tips on the compulsory red notices which grace our electricity bills, courtesy of various state governments who want to blame green schemes for large price hikes. Here’s what you see on NSW bills (the NSW government has mandated that it must appear):

On the suggestion of a reader, Crikey has looked into this and found that one of the main reasons power prices are rising, according to the NSW regulator IPART itself, is “rising network costs”. Interesting that you don’t see that message on your bill, isn’t it? Now, why would that be? Could it be because it makes it harder for the Coalition to try to blame Labor’s carbon price for everything?

Crikey has an alternative suggestion for what the NSW could insist must run on clients’ bills. The truth. This comes from IPART’s Final Report — Changes in regulated electricity retail prices from 1 July 2012.

The report goes on to say that rising network costs account for nearly half the 18% power price rise, while green schemes (of which several are state-based, not federal schemes — the original red notice is written to try to blame the feds for all of them) account for the other half.

Another important fact which somehow fell off the original red notice is that many households are compensated for the impact of the carbon tax (some receive full or over-compensation). So Tips has another suggestion for Barry O’Farrell; why not include this notice on bills? It also comes from an IPART report, on the impact of compensation for the carbon price:

Crikey is going to send these suggested alternatives to the current red notice to O’Farrell. We’ll let you know the response. Another reader submitted this entry: “I was only taken to lunch 10 times by my energy lobbyist in 2012. This has had no effect on your energy pricing.”

We rather like it. If you’ve got a suggestion, let us know. Another reader also suggested that the original red notice amounts a political message, and they wondered if it should therefore be tagged as such. Anyone know more?

Gremlins strike back. We hear there might be a few IT issues over at The Australian Financial Review:

“Yet again, today, the AFR IPad edition tells us that ‘We had a problem getting today’s edition’, and then tells us that [they] are sorry for the inconvenience and asks us to try refreshing later. I have. And I did yesterday too. But nothing emerges. I assume all subscribers are getting their subscriptions extended appropriately.”

The end of the world. Tips will not be running on Monday because the world is ending Friday, Mayan time. How do you plan to spend your last day on earth? Drop us a line. Tips is planning on driving very fast (no need to pay speeding fines!) and telling our boss how it is. Ditto leaving rent unpaid, and not buying Xmas presents. See you on the other side!

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

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One thought on “Tips and rumours

  1. klewso

    Bugger! Do I qualify for a refund for my Saturday night Lotto entry?