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ActewAGL’s Michael Costello holds forth on Greenchoice

johnboy 30 August 2012 23

ActewAGL have posted their letter to the editor on the subject of Greenchoice customers paying carbon tax prices:

I write to respond to recent discussion in the media regarding the impact of carbon pricing on ActewAGL’s Greenchoice program.

ActewAGL agrees that incurring carbon costs as a Greenchoice customer seems counterintuitive. Energy customers all across Australia are understandably questioning why the carbon price is affecting GreenPower programs. The answer is a combination of government policy and the structure of the national electricity market. ActewAGL has had no part in structuring this policy and if there is to be any change in this matter, it is for the Federal Government to make.

ActewAGL has a competitive offer for its Greenchoice customers. We encourage our customers to consider the whole energy offer when analysing the value of green products and comparing ActewAGL to our competitors. There is more to consider than just the GreenPower premium.

Our analysis suggests that a typical ACT residential customer, purchasing 10 per cent Greenchoice on a standard retail contract, is approximately $60 better off per annum against a comparable competitor offer. This is because electricity tariffs vary from retailer to retailer and, in this instance, the standard offer rate from the other retailer is higher than ours. For a Greenchoice customer on an ActewAGL Bundle contract, which receives discounts up to 25 per cent, the saving is substantially more.

It is critical that customers do not accept energy offers at face value. A low GreenPower premium doesn’t necessarily mean a low price for the product. We encourage customers to contact us for information, understand the fine print and do their own evaluation.

– ActewAGL Chief Executive Officer Michael Costello

So there you go.


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23 Responses to ActewAGL’s Michael Costello holds forth on Greenchoice
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Truthiness Truthiness 5:26 pm 31 Aug 12

I would gladly pay double for electricity if I could actually be sure doing so was making any damn difference at all. As it stands I am better off buying my own portable wind turbines than waiting for ActewAGL to pull their finger out.

If only it were possible for the average person to buy a house without getting into a lifetime of debt servitude, then I might be able to invest in insulation and my own electricity generation. Relying on buying power from a corporation will never be green.

davo101 davo101 5:07 pm 31 Aug 12

SnapperJack said :

Power bills are currently being sent out and everybody should be vigilant about the inclusion of Greenchoice on their bills without their authorisation. I saw it on my bill despite not signing up and I phoned them. They said it was a mistake and deducted the charge.

I have had the reverse problem of getting removed from the Greenchoice program and then having to go the process of getting back on. I think it’s just that ACTEW are incompetent when it comes to billing.

SnapperJack SnapperJack 4:51 pm 31 Aug 12

Power bills are currently being sent out and everybody should be vigilant about the inclusion of Greenchoice on their bills without their authorisation. I saw it on my bill despite not signing up and I phoned them. They said it was a mistake and deducted the charge.

With the carbon tax ripoff now underway, how many people have either not bothered to check their bill or simply assumed that Greenchoice was now compulsory and/or ACTEW’s way of identifying the tax.

Make sure you don’t get ripped off by the green zealots and be vigilant when paying your energy bills.

screaming banshee screaming banshee 4:32 pm 31 Aug 12

You’re full of s*** ActewAGL

davo101 davo101 3:58 pm 31 Aug 12

helium said :

I never signed up (years ago) as most of the energy then was from the Snowy scheme and from burning wood/stuff.

The main generators in the Snowy Scheme have never been part of the GreenPower program as they were built to early. Snowy does have about 20MW of GreenPower capacity in the form of small stations that have been retrofitted (such as on the Jindabyne outlet) after the program started.

Pandy Pandy 12:55 pm 31 Aug 12

Deref said :

Jivrashia said :

bd84 said :

I still don’t get why people think they shouldn’t have to pay the carbon tax? Are people really that stupid?

If you’re too stupid to fully read what you’re signing up for, then that’s your own damn fault. No point whinging about it, you can always unsubscribe from the service.

Troll!!
No wait…

Pot? (kettle, black).
Hang on…. maybe…

Foot-in-mouth sufferer?

I give up. WHAT are you?

You forgot “idiot”.

Dilandach said :

yeah… but the ACTEW chick from the ad is still hot. 😉

Are there choices besides ACTEWAGL?

If so, why do people bother with these guys?

Dilandach Dilandach 10:24 pm 30 Aug 12

yeah… but the ACTEW chick from the ad is still hot. 😉

Deref Deref 9:31 pm 30 Aug 12

Jivrashia said :

bd84 said :

I still don’t get why people think they shouldn’t have to pay the carbon tax? Are people really that stupid?

If you’re too stupid to fully read what you’re signing up for, then that’s your own damn fault. No point whinging about it, you can always unsubscribe from the service.

Troll!!
No wait…

Pot? (kettle, black).
Hang on…. maybe…

Foot-in-mouth sufferer?

I give up. WHAT are you?

You forgot “idiot”.

Antagonist Antagonist 5:20 pm 30 Aug 12

Deref said :

If the cost before the carbon tax was y, then it should be y after the carbon tax. There is no carbon tax on CFE.

This, indeed, is the whole idea – that, over time, the price of CPE will rise while the price of CFE will drop (or at least not rise as fast), making CFE closer to and eventually cheaper than CPE.

ACTEWAGL’s scam completely defeats the whole purpose of a carbon tax by eliminating the differentiation.

+1. Scam.

Jethro Jethro 5:16 pm 30 Aug 12

The only organisation that chooses how ACTEW passes on the carbon tax is ACTEW. Essentially, it gets a carbon tax bill, which it then wants to recover the costs of, by passing them on to their customers. Which customers they choose to pass these costs on to is entirely up to them.

To me, it is inequitable that they are passing these costs on to the very consumers who are already paying extra to reduce ACTEW’s carbon tax bill. If no-one was on Greenchoice, ACTEW’s bill would be higher. The beneficiaries of this tax burden of ACTEW’s should be those who paid extra to achieve it.

chewy14 chewy14 4:54 pm 30 Aug 12

JohnK said :

I agree that it’s a stupid scheme unless it actually provides the green electricity to offset people’s usage.

The scheme does actually provides green, renewable, electricity for people’s usage. It’s clearly represented as such by ActewAGL.

To quote: “When you join Greenchoice, you are instructing us to buy a specified amount of renewable energy on your behalf from accredited GreenPower generators.

That energy is fed back into the national electricity grid, replacing the same amount of energy that would have been generated from traditional fossil fuel sources. The result is that your home or business is helping to reduce greenhouse gases being discharged into the atmosphere from the generation of electricity.”

So 100% Greenchoice supplies you with 100% green energy.

But ActewAGL wants charge their 100% Greenchoice customers the carbon tax anyway.

Costello’s dissembling letter displays contempt for his customers.

No, I’m sure that they actually buy the power to put into the national grid, but it isn’t used to offset your individual usage.

As far as I can see, you are still paying the Carbon tax because the energy you individually are using, isn’t Green.

housebound housebound 4:48 pm 30 Aug 12

This is the same Michael Costello who orchestrated the 2006 functional review, which led to real gems like school closures, shared services, and the first go at wrecking ACTION’s timetable (plus more).

helium helium 4:45 pm 30 Aug 12

This used to be sold as “you are buying renewable energy” now sold as “contributing to the use of green energy in the grid by all”.

This should be a simple accounting task and ANY green energy purchased should have ZERO carbon tax added. This will push the tax back to other (non-green) consumers, but isn’t that the point of Carbon Pricing.

Incidentally (and related to his comment on lower GreenChoice premiums) Origin seem to be in a similar bind, but have reduced their prices 3.08c v’s 7.5c (ACTEW) for 100% Greenchoice.

I never signed up (years ago) as most of the energy then was from the Snowy scheme and from burning wood/stuff. It has changed some what so now hydro represents 63.4%, wind 22.9%, bioenergy 11.5%. photovoltaic 2.1%.

JohnK JohnK 4:11 pm 30 Aug 12

I agree that it’s a stupid scheme unless it actually provides the green electricity to offset people’s usage.

The scheme does actually provides green, renewable, electricity for people’s usage. It’s clearly represented as such by ActewAGL.

To quote: “When you join Greenchoice, you are instructing us to buy a specified amount of renewable energy on your behalf from accredited GreenPower generators.

That energy is fed back into the national electricity grid, replacing the same amount of energy that would have been generated from traditional fossil fuel sources. The result is that your home or business is helping to reduce greenhouse gases being discharged into the atmosphere from the generation of electricity.”

So 100% Greenchoice supplies you with 100% green energy.

But ActewAGL wants charge their 100% Greenchoice customers the carbon tax anyway.

Costello’s dissembling letter displays contempt for his customers.

DeadlySchnauzer DeadlySchnauzer 3:52 pm 30 Aug 12

There is a simple thought experiment that blows ACTEW’s whole argument out of the water. First of all you have to suppose that any wholesale Greenchoice energy sourced by ACTEW is purchased by them Carbon tax free (the whole point of Green energy after all).

Now for arguments sake lets say that 100% of customers switched to Greenchoice. Effectively 100% of energy in the ACTEW grid would now be carbon tax free (whether directly or via offsets), and hence ACTEW would have zero carbon tax liability. Yet they would be charging the cost of the carbon tax to 100% of their customers… effectively pocketing the difference and to my mind falling well within the ACCC criteria for deceptive conduct. In this case passing on the price of the carbon tax to consumers when the business itself doesn’t pay anything.

Jivrashia Jivrashia 3:33 pm 30 Aug 12

bd84 said :

I still don’t get why people think they shouldn’t have to pay the carbon tax? Are people really that stupid?

If you’re too stupid to fully read what you’re signing up for, then that’s your own damn fault. No point whinging about it, you can always unsubscribe from the service.

Troll!!
No wait…

Pot? (kettle, black).
Hang on…. maybe…

Foot-in-mouth sufferer?

I give up. WHAT are you?

chewy14 chewy14 3:01 pm 30 Aug 12

Deref said :

chewy14 said :

Deref said :

No, Michael, it’s not counterintuitive – it’s a scam.

Let me simplify it for you:

You have two customers, Alice and Bob. Alice pays for non-carbon producing electricity, Bob doesn’t. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that both Alice and Bob use x units of electricity each. You, as the provider, purchase x units of carbon-free electricity (CFE) and x units of carbon-producing electricity (CPE). The electrons all travel down the same wires; there is no distinction. But you charge Alice for the CFE that you bought on her behalf and you charge Bob for the CPE you bought on his behalf.

Why is that hard?

But I didn’t think this was how the program worked.
I thought both Bob and Alice both use and were charged for Carbon producing energy.
Then Alice decided to pay extra for the company to buy some non carbon producing electricity to offset her carbon footprint.
This doesn’t give Alice any rights to the non-carbon producing electricity.

If that’s right, then it’s even more of a scam than I’ve made it out to be. It’s represented as paying extra to source your electricity from CFE sources (i.e. the provider buys CFE electricity to cover your usage; not, as some moron suggested, that you get different electrons).

chewy14 said :

What was the cost of the Greenchoice energy before and after the Carbon tax came in?

If the cost before the carbon tax was y, then it should be y after the carbon tax. There is no carbon tax on CFE.

This, indeed, is the whole idea – that, over time, the price of CPE will rise while the price of CFE will drop (or at least not rise as fast), making CFE closer to and eventually cheaper than CPE.

ACTEWAGL’s scam completely defeats the whole purpose of a carbon tax by eliminating the differentiation.

I’ve never paid the extra so I was interested to know whether the price changed after the carbon tax came in. I agree that it’s a stupid scheme unless it actually provides the green electricity to offset people’s usage.

Deref Deref 2:12 pm 30 Aug 12

chewy14 said :

Deref said :

No, Michael, it’s not counterintuitive – it’s a scam.

Let me simplify it for you:

You have two customers, Alice and Bob. Alice pays for non-carbon producing electricity, Bob doesn’t. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that both Alice and Bob use x units of electricity each. You, as the provider, purchase x units of carbon-free electricity (CFE) and x units of carbon-producing electricity (CPE). The electrons all travel down the same wires; there is no distinction. But you charge Alice for the CFE that you bought on her behalf and you charge Bob for the CPE you bought on his behalf.

Why is that hard?

But I didn’t think this was how the program worked.
I thought both Bob and Alice both use and were charged for Carbon producing energy.
Then Alice decided to pay extra for the company to buy some non carbon producing electricity to offset her carbon footprint.
This doesn’t give Alice any rights to the non-carbon producing electricity.

If that’s right, then it’s even more of a scam than I’ve made it out to be. It’s represented as paying extra to source your electricity from CFE sources (i.e. the provider buys CFE electricity to cover your usage; not, as some moron suggested, that you get different electrons).

chewy14 said :

What was the cost of the Greenchoice energy before and after the Carbon tax came in?

If the cost before the carbon tax was y, then it should be y after the carbon tax. There is no carbon tax on CFE.

This, indeed, is the whole idea – that, over time, the price of CPE will rise while the price of CFE will drop (or at least not rise as fast), making CFE closer to and eventually cheaper than CPE.

ACTEWAGL’s scam completely defeats the whole purpose of a carbon tax by eliminating the differentiation.

chewy14 chewy14 12:55 pm 30 Aug 12

Deref said :

No, Michael, it’s not counterintuitive – it’s a scam.

Let me simplify it for you:

You have two customers, Alice and Bob. Alice pays for non-carbon producing electricity, Bob doesn’t. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that both Alice and Bob use x units of electricity each. You, as the provider, purchase x units of carbon-free electricity (CFE) and x units of carbon-producing electricity (CPE). The electrons all travel down the same wires; there is no distinction. But you charge Alice for the CFE that you bought on her behalf and you charge Bob for the CPE you bought on his behalf.

Why is that hard?

But I didn’t think this was how the program worked.
I thought both Bob and Alice both use and were charged for Carbon producing energy.
Then Alice decided to pay extra for the company to buy some non carbon producing electricity to offset her carbon footprint.
This doesn’t give Alice any rights to the non-carbon producing electricity.

What was the cost of the Greenchoice energy before and after the Carbon tax came in?

Deref Deref 12:30 pm 30 Aug 12

No, Michael, it’s not counterintuitive – it’s a scam.

Let me simplify it for you:

You have two customers, Alice and Bob. Alice pays for non-carbon producing electricity, Bob doesn’t. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that both Alice and Bob use x units of electricity each. You, as the provider, purchase x units of carbon-free electricity (CFE) and x units of carbon-producing electricity (CPE). The electrons all travel down the same wires; there is no distinction. But you charge Alice for the CFE that you bought on her behalf and you charge Bob for the CPE you bought on his behalf.

Why is that hard?

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