Electricity: Who’s benefited – “Distributors”? “Providers”? Retailers”? “Consumers”?

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          Electricity plays one of the major role in everyone’s life. Imagine a life without electricity every day, from the time we wake up and till we sleep. Can we run our day without power supply? Just think what if our mobile runs out of battery and have no power to charge it, what if all the electronic devices (Examples: Television, home appliances, washing machines, etc)  stop working due to lack of electricity? Can you imagine the consequences for these? To be frank, it would be a mechanical life without electricity, by using motors for each and everything we do in our daily life. I think ‘Imagining a life without electricity is something like human being without eyes’.

          The production of electricity has been increasing every year and every one are making use of it 24 hrs a day. But at what cost. Are consumers benefited with the electricity prices they get?

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal and natural gas. The real asset for generation of power is coal. Coal is plentifully accessible all through Australia. For power era, black coal is majorly utilized as a part of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. Though in Victoria, brown coal is the prevalent source. In the year 2013, “247 billion kilowatt hours (TWh)” of power is created by the “Australia’s energy stations”, which is very nearly 59% overabundance than the power delivered in the year 1990. Out of 247 billion kilowatt hours (TWh) of power, 15 TWh is utilized by the power stations and almost 12 TWh is lost amid transmission and the remaining is used by the buyers.

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National Energy Market (NEM) foundation incorporates both state and private assets and is administered by a blended sack of substances under the general course of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).The framework burden component was around 55% and the store edge around 28%. In the focused business sector the wholesale cost found the middle value of about $55/MWh. This included around 20% of last retail charges (51% being system, 20% being retail client administration and vitality effectiveness projects, and 9% being carbon cost). Not at all like some abroad power markets where the transmission framework administrators initiate dispatchable limit 45 minutes in front of saw need, in Australia the NEM has constant adjusting with the commitment on renewables up to five minutes prior to conveyance. Costs are subsequently topped all that much higher, at $13,500/MWh. This has given motivation to interest in new adjusting plant, with 4 GWe of adaptable limit being included late years. In 2013 spikes went to $7000/MWh, with a considerable measure above $1500/MWh. (In Germany the top is €3000/MWh and the most astounding spike in 2013 was about €130/MWh, offering ascent to little speculation.) In Australia a gas-terminated plant may keep running for 900 hours for each year (burden figure 10%), on 1050 events, with 400 of the starts being for five minutes just, however it can be economic.

Much power in Australia is presently exchanged so that dissemination organizations purchase at the best cost accessible from hour to hour from contending generators. The troubles coordinating supply with interest can be judged from the way that Victorian interest reaches from 3900 MWe to 10,000 MWe, and that in NSW from 5800 to 15,000 MWe.

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Australian power costs were practically the most reduced on the planet to around 2007, yet have risen altogether from that point forward, and worldwide examinations are exacerbated by the conversion standard. Henceforth 2011-12 normal Australian family costs are above Japan and EU normal and much higher than USA. By state, WA, Vic, NSW and SA, 2011 costs rank behind just Denmark and Germany.

The prior low costs made a noteworthy issue in pulling in interest in new producing plant to cater for resigning old plant and taking care of new demand – a 25% increment by 2020 was anticipated, and indeed a 40% ascent happened by 2011, with another 30% anticipated to 2013.

Eastern Australia’s National Power Market (NEM) works the world’s biggest interconnected force framework that keeps running for more than 5,000 kilometres from North Queensland to focal South Australia, and supplies some $10 billion power every year to take care of the demand of more than 10 million end clients. The NEM volume-weighted normal cost in 2008-09 ran from $36/MWh in Queensland to $49/MWh in Victoria and $69/MWh in SA. NEM base contains both state and exclusive resources, and is overseen under the general heading of the Australian Vitality Market Administrator (AEMO), which was built up by the state and central governments.

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The supply of power starts with generation of power in power station. The generating of power is done by utilizing numerous natural assets that are accessible, similar to coal (significant asset in Australia), renewable energy – sun based, wind, hydro, and a some fuels for low power generation. Generally these power stations are situated in the regional places where there is less population. In Australia, there are number of power stations in every state. “Loy Yang” is situated in Victoria and is the biggest power station in Australia.

The power produced in these power stations are transmitted to diverse districts with the assistance of transmission links. Every locale has its own particular wholesaler who purchases power from the power stations in mass at a low cost. These wholesalers supply energy to the suppliers independently in diverse areas at a value which would be gainful to the merchant. The no. of suppliers are not confined to one and only in a locale, there are atleast 2 to 3 suppliers for a district. (For example: AGL, Origin, Power direct, Jemena are the suppliers of power in Victoria. AGL and Origin are likewise retailers of the power market). These suppliers offer power to the retailers at higher cost than they get. The retailers then alter their very own cost and give it to the clients. This is a long channel of appropriation of power from the producers to the purchasers. Because of the move of power in this long channel, the costs are brought at every point up in the channel and when reaching the end (Consumers) the costs are increased than the manufacturing costs and it varies with different retailers.

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The retail organizations that are currently accessible in the business, purchase power effortlessly and make benefits by offering it to the clients at distinctive expense. This is making clients feel uneasy with the costs and making them to choose alternate options like solar energy (for example). At last, the retailers are benefited on the whole than the consumers. Many people switched to the solar energy in the resent years, which made the power prices high.

Honourable Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Tony Abbot has told in an interview stating that “Australians will notice a difference on their next power bill and argues that the government has lowered the overall tax burden on people” (In a video interview with Sarah Ferguson (Reporter) on 17/07/2014 at Australian Broadcasting Corporation). He also says that the retail companies are advertising on the prices that are going to be reduced soon. Later on the prices of electricity reduced to some extent but not much low.

Resources:

  • World Nuclear Association – “Australia’s Electricity”, Appendix to Australia’s Uranium Paper, 2015.
  • CME report to Energy Users Association, Electricity prices in Australia: An International Comparison, March 2012.
  • “Data and Statistics – Energy in Australia”, ESAA: Policy and Research, esaa.com.au.
  • Brady, “A Dictionary on Electricity”, Prepared for Australian National Committee of CIGRE, 1996.
  • Warrick, “Living without Electricity”. Essay written for youth tour essay contest organised by White River Valley Electric Cooperative at Gainesville High School.

By

Subramanyam Raju Gangaraju (213340871)

Arun Mattaparti (213347061)

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