Energy Spot flawsRichard Treadgold | February 23, 2013
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) seems to believe that we’re causing global warming and we must be stopped.
The alternative is that they’re really trying to save us money. But it’s impossible to accept that they really want the best for us. As the old joke puts it: “I’m from the government; I’m here to help you.” Ha ha.
EECA spends about $130,000,000 a year (p48). In the year ended June 2012 the actual expenditure was $123,016,000 against a budget of $155,761,000 from revenue of $127,926,000 (budget was $154,600,000). I don’t yet know where all the money goes. Through the “Energy Spot” they tell us we spend too much on electricity, although they don’t mention that could be due to constant price hikes from the “national” power stations our fathers and grandfathers proudly paid for, rather than actual increases in the cost of generating electricity. [The original comment here said that our power stations now have private owners, but that's wrong. The shareholder is our government. My apologies. - RT] They also nag us nightly to use less petrol and they hand out government subsidies for biodiesel and an experimental wave power device.
There’s a lot to investigate there, but here’s a first look at a bit of the lunacy. This made TV3 News in June last year without being detected by those ace reporters, who instead faithfully fed us the line they got from EECA and announced:
New Zealanders waste over $100 million a year leaving appliances on standby instead of turning them off at the wall.
Wow! What a trivial activity, but that’s a lot of money, isn’t it? Is it? We need to put this in some perspective.
New Zealand’s population is 4,400,000. A national expenditure of $100,000,000 therefore represents
- $22.73 each per year
- $0.437 each per week
- for a 5-person household, it’s $2.19 per week
This is beneath trivial, and it’s certainly beneath our dignity to respond to. Our bureaucrats should not be wasting their time with this, and our highly-trained reporters have missed a great story. For they ought to have seen that the story here was the monumental waste of time and money by our government agency (EECA) in expensively exhorting us all to avoid a minor expenditure.
I say to EECA: Go away and stop bothering me with trifles, stop spending my tax money on useless feel-good social engineering and please use it for something worthwhile. Like building another power station.
I spent a moment finding a rival triviality for comparison. I came up with jam.
What about the jam?
Many people throw away jam jars without properly harvesting all the jam. Same with peanut butter, marmite, honey and mustard pickle. There are many others, including shampoo and dishwashing liquid, although they’re not food, but they still cost money.
How much could be saved by the nation each year if these jars were cleaned out properly and the food or product consumed, not wasted? By my calculation, it’s something like this:
Cost of 375 gm jar of jam: $4.00 (roughly)
Number of jars of jam consumed per person per year: 5 (roughly).
Amount of jam left in each jar on disposal: 10 gm (2.7% of 375 gm).
National jam residue: 220,000,000 grams per year (220 tonnes), or 587,000 jars.
National value: $2,348,000.
Assuming similar calculations for the four other products mentioned means the total cost of the wasted spreads is about $11,740,000.
For each of us, that’s $2.67 PER YEAR (sorry to shout).
It’s also 12% of the amount spent for electricity on appliances standing by. The mind boggles. How much more are we squandering merely by being alive? Oh, the waste!
The government spends tens of thousands of dollars on the Energy Spot TV advertisements (I’ll try to pin this down), and it should not be wasted but be put to good use, yet 44 cents per week is a trivial amount for us to spend on the convenience of having our appliances spark up the moment we want them. The government is audacious in using our pennies to dispense a fortune to broadcasters to grizzle at us to save pennies. It pays to own a television station.
It’s interesting that Energy Spot doesn’t always mention the harm to the planet arising from our use of energy. In the Kiwi context, that’s scarcely surprising, considering 70% of our electricity generation is renewable hydro. Unique in the world. Harmless to the world.
Stop bothering us with trifles, you idiots, and get a real job.
If we need another power station don’t sit around blaming us for becoming more numerous and using more power. Just build the power station.
Otherwise you’ll lose your job and we’ll find competent people to do it for us instead.
You see, your job is not, as you seem to believe, to save the planet from dubious dangers — it is to serve our needs. As public servants, you really should embrace this.
Public servants serve the public and everything you do must be supported by evidence.