Thursday, April 06, 2006

Electricity Commission Competent?

Despite months of denials the Electricity Commission (charged with the planning and regulatory framework to keep the lights on) has confirmed what everyone else knew - they did not have handle on the risk of shortages this year.

I'll bet that there has been Ministerial pressure on the Commission for months to play down the risk - now the pressure has got too great. Ministers (although an atheistic lot) have been praying for rain.

Check out the Electricity Commission Board - look political to you? Cullen's former economist, and a Christchurch City Councillor bring a definite tinge to the Board.

This Board will have the very best advice and knowledge in the country on storage levels, demand figures and total capacity. It defies logic that the Board has been led astray by management not blowing the whistle for months and made a bold call...that the rains would come.

I think the Commission decided today they had been subborned for too long and had only their credibility to protect - hence today's late announcement.

My contacts in the McKenzie country told me months ago the lakes were very low and the storage graphs have consistently confirmed that. On top, old hands were moving stock out in the autumn because in their signs it was going to be low on feed (ie no rain).

I was up there last week and Pukaki and Tekapo are very low.

The only water going out is to meet Waitaki flow rates.

What on earth did the Commission think was going on when all the generators were banging about the state of storage. It is in their interests to predict demand and supply so they can maximise sales. They run very sophisticated models. As does the Commission. A key variable is the Waitaki system - you can check storage there with an eyeometer.

First we knew there was a poor 2005 winter snow season - the low melt was not followed by rain. At that point alarm bells were jangling from most circles. Except, the body charged with security of the electricity supply was saying there was no need to worry; huh?

Another Government agency in the hand of the PM and her cronies.


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