16/06/2011 - 11:11

Power up; should train fares be next?

16/06/2011 - 11:11

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Public transport users ought to be wary of complaining too loudly about squeezing onto packed trains during increasingly busy peak travel times because history has a habit of repeating itself.

Public transport users ought to be wary of complaining too loudly about squeezing onto packed trains during increasingly busy peak travel times.

Remember the last time consumers of a major state-subsidised service whinged about peak hour shortages? That’s right, it was electricity.

Take yourself back to 2004 and the crisis (I use that word advisedly) during a few hot February days when the electricity generation couldn’t cope with all those spanking new air conditioners running at full bore.

Boy did we complain. How could the government let things come to this, third world-style black outs just as we were trying to cook dinner and keep the house refrigerated at the same time. Forget about having a BBQ or going to the beach, modern Australians just wanted electricity.

But not at any price.

According to the Labor opposition there has been a 57 per cent increase to electricity bills since the conservatives took power in 2008. That is still not covering the cost of producing the power but is enough to become a significant issue to those who have forgotten that, a few years ago, the worst thing was to be without power for a few hours in the middle of summer.

Electricity had been subsidised to the point where the government, or its utilities, could no longer afford to keep ahead of demand. Notably capital investment suffered.

Electricity subsidies, of course, were a political decision based on buying votes. It is not as if power needed to be subsidised to encourage us to use it. Nevertheless, we had become used to cheap electricity and planned our lives around it.

Well, every time I hear reports on the radio about commuters complaining about crowded trains I wonder if history isn’t repeating itself.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options