Insane fee millions of Aussies will be forced to pay to connect their homes to gas

Millions of Australians will be slugged thousands to connect their homes and businesses to natural gas as part of one state’s plan to halve carbon emissions

Victoria’s Essential Services Commission has proposed new rules that will require homes to pay $2,500 and businesses $31,000 to connect to the network. 

The cost of connecting homes to the gas network depends on where the property is located but the average upfront cost is between $1,778 and $2,378. 

The price balloons for commercial and industrial properties with business owners to pay between $7,111 and $30,993 to connect to the network. 

The rules will replace current ones that allow for network connections to be paid back over a period of time through charges on utility bills. 

Millions of Australians will be forced to cough up thousands to connect their homes and businesses to natural gas (stock image)

Millions of Australians will be forced to cough up thousands to connect their homes and businesses to natural gas (stock image)

The ESC says the plan will bring the industry into line with electricity and water connections which can cost new homeowners between $600 and $2,400.

The state’s energy regulator says this will also cap new investments into the gas network – forcing customers to pay back even more. 

Victoria is on a mission to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and is limiting any further growth of the gas network to reduce the gas assets that need to be paid off.  

Industry experts say people with lower incomes who can’t afford to convert to electricity will be the ones who cop the costs, with gas providers given the green light to charge an extra $333million over five years. 

The transition from gas to electricity comes amid modelling

Read the rest

This Public Utility Has a Path Toward Clean Energy. Environmentalists Hate It.

On November 10 of last year, at a place called Paradise in western Kentucky, the Tennessee Valley Authority blew up the cooling towers of a large coal-fired power plant. The three stout towers, each 435 feet high, buckled at the waist in synchrony, then crumpled like crushed soda cans. Within 10 seconds, they’d collapsed into a billowing cloud of dust.

To anyone who watched the demolition happen, or saw the footage online, the message was clear: TVA, a sprawling, federally owned utility created 90 years ago as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, is getting off coal.

Though some people in the region regret that move, it’s a win for the local environment—and for the global climate. In the past few years, as the urgency of slowing climate change has grown, something like a consensus has emerged on how to do it: Green the electrical grid while retooling as much of the economy as possible—cars, buildings, factories—to run on zero-carbon electricity. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Joe Biden last August, is supporting that plan with $370 billion in subsidies. In a 2021 executive order, Biden directed the federal government to “lead by example in order to achieve a carbon pollution–free electricity sector by 2035” and a net-zero economy by 2050.

Given this strategy, electric utilities are crucial to our future—and none more so than TVA, the largest public power provider in the United States. Its territory covers nearly all of Tennessee; large chunks of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky; and bits of three other states. In one of the most conservative regions of the country, 10 million people get electricity from a federal agency that has no shareholders to answer to and no profits to make.

“TVA is this crazy unicorn—it’s not like anything else,” Stephen

Read the rest