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Blog by Dave McArthur 14 June 2007

Let us honour the life and death of Folole Muliaga by turning New Zealand into the leading world model of the intelligent uses of electricity. This is how it can happen.

First, readers not familiar with events should know that last week a person in New Zealand needlessly died soon after her access to Bulk-generated electricity was cut off.

In order to create this monument celebrating Folole we need understand her place in history, in particular her place in the history of humans' use of electricity. So perhaps we need first decide what we mean by electricity and the first thing I will tell you is that you and I were given a very unhelpful introduction to this amazing phenomenon by our so-called “science teachers” and their teachers.

The most essential thing you need to know is that electricity has a multitude of manifestations and that we are Electrical Beings. Without electricity in all its manifestations our atoms would not exist, our neural networks would cease to communicate, the distribution grids supporting our civilisation of 6.5 billion people would collapse, our atmosphere would become a toxic brew of gases and the sun’s rays would be lethal and, I suspect, the stars would leave their place in the universe.

The next most essential things to know is that it is most unhelpful to say any single manifestation of electricity is electricity, just as it is extremely unwise to confuse a form of energy with energy. This latter confusion denies the great Conservation Principle, which says that though the total amount of energy is constant it is manifest in a myriad of ever changing forms. It is like saying fruit is lemons or humans are Englishmen. It closes our eyes to the wonderful range of fruits that can exist and the variety of humanity. In short such statements are confusing and kill joy. 

We are opened up to amazing new worlds when we know there is static electricity, bioelectricity, electromagnetism, piezoelectricity, electrical energy, triboelectricity, alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC), electrons, thermoelectricity, atmospheric electricity etc. 

Note: it is very essential that we know of the last named exists now that we know human activities may be impacting in a negative way on the climate balances that sustain us. When we flick that electrical switch in our car or our home we are impacting on the electrical balances of our atmosphere.

Our societies are opened up to vast new options when we know there is Bulk-generated electricity, Micro-generated electricity, Dwelling-generated electricity and Nano-generated electricity. All sorts of fantastic resources become available to us.

So give your self a treat as I do sometimes. I reflect on my Electrical Being, starting with my atoms and ending with my universe. Maybe give yourself a moment as a token of respect to Folole Muliaga. There is a website I love to go to that is provided by a most thoughtful man, one William J Beatty, electrical engineer. 

William says things far better than I can:

There is no single stuff called "electricity." ELECTRICITY DOES NOT EXIST. Franklin, Edison, Thompson, and millions of science teachers should've had a long talk with Mrs. McCave before they decided to give a variety of independent science concepts just one single name.

Mrs. McCave was invented by Dr. Seuss. She had twenty three sons. She named them all "Dave."

Whenever we ask "WHAT IS ELECTRICITY," that's just like asking Mrs. McCave "WHO IS DAVE?" How can she describe her son? There can be no answer since the question itself is wrong. It's wrong to ask "who is Dave?" because we are assuming that there is only one Dave, when actually there are many different people. They all just happen to be named Dave. Who is Dave? Mrs. McCave cannot answer us until she first corrects our misunderstanding.

For the same reason, we will never find a simple answer to the question "what is electricity?" because the question itself is wrong. First we must realize that "electricity" does not exist. There is no single thing named "electricity." We must learn that, while several different things exist in wires, people wrongly all of them by a single name.

So never ask "WHAT IS ELECTRICITY". Instead, discard the word "electricity" and instead use the correct names for all the separate phenomena

As a person called Dave you can understand why the fable of Mrs McCave resonates with me. But seriously, do yourself and our children a great favour – know that every electrical symbol (term, word, graphic etc) is the key to new worlds of beauty and opportunity.

You can now see that a history of electricity is really a history of the universe. Our monument to Folole Muliaga can include that history and we owe it her children and all our children that they learn this astounding story. I am not going to place the life and death of Folole in the context of the universe but just in the context of our use of electrical community grids this last century.

Thomas Edison is famous for perfecting the first sustainable incandescent light bulb and in 1879 he constructed a prototype street lighting system using it. In 1882 he created the first public street lighting system with this technology and at the same time he used the home of the very powerful investment banker, JP Morgan, to show how dwellings could use reticulated DC electricity for lighting.

Right from the moments of the creation of the world’s very first dwelling and community electrical grids in the 1890s greedy humans have seen control of the electrical grids as a means of controlling global wealth for themselves. Thomas Edison and the powerful banker JP Morgan were such greedy people. It is only the activities of extraordinary altruistic and creative giants such as Nikola Tesla that prevented this small group of men from gaining monopoly control using their Direct Current (DC) technology. Some say they controlled 80% of the world’s DC grids by the 1890s.

Nikola Tesla was driven by an enormous desire to “release his fellow humans from drudgery”. Among his many inventions is the Alternating Current electro magnetic motor that provides many of the power sources underpinning our civilisation.

Tesla, an immigrant from the area of Croatia worked for Edison for about a year after his arrival in America. Edison promised him $US50, 000 if he could design a piece of electrical technology everyone thought impossible. So Tesla worked his guts out over some months and accomplished the “impossible”. However when Tesla asked for his payment Edison is alleged to have laughed at him and said, “Sorry, that’s just a little American joke”.  So Tesla left Edison’s company in disgust and worked for an industrialist called Westinghouse, enabling and developing use of Alternating Current (AC) electricity.

There ensued a vicious battle between the proponents of DC and AC. In their psychopathic attempts to have AC banned the DC proponents even went as far as exploiting humanitarian groups and developing the electric AC death chair (or “Westinghouse chair” as Edison’s PR department tried to symbolise it. They hoped judges would condemn people to death by “ the Westinghouse” and “Westinghousing”.) 

AC (Tesla and Westinghouse) won out because AC had greater capacity in those days to be transmitted over long distances. And the powerful merchant bankers quickly saw that AC enabled them to gain even greater control over Earth’s resources and wealth using the great, centralised grid structures. Soon they had control of this electrical resource too.

“The Battle of the Currents” battle over, the war moved to a new ground: who should control the use of Alternating Current electricity – the stuff that enables the lighting, heating and oxygen machine technology in Folole Muliaga’s dwelling to work.

In the USA in the 1920-30s this small group of ultra-powerful merchant bankers were known as the Robber Barons by a large number of Americans. The bankers went to extraordinary lengths such as buying radio and broadsheet networks for their propaganda and funding politicians and universities to ensure they gained control of electrical uses. They fought a battle on two fronts: removing ownership of electrical grids from communities and suppressing the development of technologies that competed with Bulk-generated electricity.

The reason for their greedy actions is simple. Bulk-generated electricity is capital intensive and concentrates power and wealth in the hands of the merchant banker It provides a major source of almost pure cash flow for them. President Roosevelt in the New Deal fought against this concentration of wealth on behalf of the majority of the American people and brought in legislation restricting their power to control such a vast resource as electricity. His successor this century, President George W Bush, is at present dismantling this New Deal legislation sixty years on.

This legislation plus the stark lessons learned in the destitution of the Great Depression when wealth extremes caused many economies to implode plus the horrors of community grid collapses during World War 11 ensured populations valued their utility grids for subsequent decades. As a result many remained under community control. In the 1980s those lessons began to be forgotten. In the USA and around the world a new generation of the “Robber Barons” were let loose again and to save reiteration of previous blogs I recommend you see the movies “Enron – the smartest guys in the room” and The Corporation

These movies show how a few greed-driven humans can create psychopathic institutions on a terrifying scale. Our electrical potential is very powerful and forms a mighty resource. We can use it good or bad, to sustain us or to destroy us. This group of people care not for social or environmental impacts. Their driving concern is maintaining maximum short-term cash flows. It is a lethal weapon in their hands.

New Zealand, the land the Folole and her family emigrated to, was advanced as any nation in seeing the potential in reticulated electricity. A privately owned hydroelectric station was built in 1887 near Reefton and the goldmining town became the first in the nation to have street lighting. However by the 1890s communities throughout New Zealand saw that private utility companies were simply not delivering. So our city councils bought them and set up their own MEDs (Municipal Electricity Departments) to ensure electrical grid development throughout their communities. 

Outside the major cities where nearly half of New Zealanders (about 500,000 people) lived early last century, communities formed trusts and created their own reticulation grids to ensure their development. These locally owned Trusts in which all members connected to the grid had democratic rights were called Power Boards and over 50 of these were formed to serve a population of little over a million. These trusts should not be confused with the trusts established by the Robber Barons.

This use of the “power board” symbol expressed a belief that “power=Bulk-generated electricity” and its reticulation was the responsibility of an elected “board” of trustees. It should not be confused with “power board” which again expresses a belief that “power = Bulk-generated electricity” but the board referred to is a “board” or panel of mains switches, fuses and meters that govern the internal electrical grids of dwellings. This panel is also known as a “switch board” or a “meter board”. 

In this use of the wonderful power symbol in power board we see the destructive impact of greed and public relations industry pathology emanating from the USA. The power symbol is one of the most precious and potent gifts humanity is blessed with, ranking with the God, love, change, life, death and energy symbols. The problem is that as soon as we begin defining any of these symbols in terms of some small aspect of existence we immediately destroy our capacity to enjoy their full potential. We reduce our options and put humanity at risk. And this is what has happened to the power symbol.

In the fight to control global uses of electricity the PR industry and strategists operating for the short-term interests of the powerful bankers redefined Bulk-generated electricity as power. They knew that they could exploit the power symbol to elicit the powerful primal responses they desired in the general population and in legislators in particular. By teaching that “power = Bulk-generating electricity” they knew they could control the debate about how humans might use all the electrical resources available to humanity - atomic, neural, dwelling, community etc.

Nowhere was this corrupt use of the power symbol adopted more totally than in New Zealand. Even in the USA much of the culture is centred around the utility symbol and people talk of the “utility grids” and the laws speak of “utility governance and regulation”. When Folole and her family came to New Zealand this century they were surrounded by talk in the media, in the schools and on the street of “power poles” “power companies”, “power supplies”, “power cuts” “power bills”, “power crises”, ”power wires” “power plants”, “power regulations”, “power rangers”, “the power sector”, “power points”, “power generators”, “power stations”, “power plant”, “powermen”, “power outages”, “the power bosses”, Trustpower, Mighty River Power etc. 

And for decades I, with a small army of well-meaning but naïve people, thought we were promoting civilisation in New Zealand by building utility networks and systems to serve the people and telling them we were supplying them with “power”. The cruel reality is that people like I who worked in the Bulk-gen electricity industry were doing enormous damage and setting our nation with all its great resources up for misery, debt and deprivation. We were actively destroying science.

And people like myself were doing much worse!

About the 1950s the powerful global merchant bankers/accountants got together and redefined the “energy” symbol as those resources they could trade and profit from. Hence a new equation: “Bulk-generated electricity = energy”. The companies selling it became known as “energy companies” as well as “power companies” and these were part of a nonsense structure called the “energy sector”.

Again New Zealand adopted on scale this abuse of our greatest symbols in mindless fashion and by the late 1970s it formed the basis of our Government legislation. So by the 1980s I was walking through thousands of homes teaching people they could “save energy” and “conserve energy” (an impossible notion for energy is by its very nature conserved). I thought I was being so enlightened and helpful but the sad reality is I, and many other well-meaning people, were and are only destroying human’s ability to know the full potential of energy. I served and many others still serve as the shock troopers for greed-driven concerns, destroying science, confounding humanity and putting us all at greater risk.

So in 2001 and again in 2003 Folole’s new life in New Zealand was threatened by “energy crises”, “energy shortfalls” “energy collapses” and ‘energy failures”. “Energy experts” from the “energy sector” and  “energy reporters” in special “energy reports” spelled out to her in dire tones the threat she was under. 

If energy had been about to fail then the prospects for Folole and us all would have been truly soul chilling. Fortunately these “energy” people talk nonsense and the only crisis was our use of energy. Unfortunately their talk is dangerous nonsense. They are conduits for the callous and mean-minded inventions of the PR divisions acting for the bankers’ interests. The truth in 2001 and 2003 was that the merchant banker’s carefully cultivated promotion of addictive uses of Bulk-gen electricity had produced a demand for the product that temporarily exceeded supply. 

You see, while these money merchants make their quickest profits stressing the national grid to its breaking point, they fear its collapse. Their game is to manipulate people like you and me so we deprive ourselves of Bulk-gen electricity for brief periods when our consumption of the product affects the banker’s short-term profits. At the same time we are gamed so our fundamental addictive behaviour remains unaltered. Hence, for instance they abuse the “energy” symbol as in the equation “energy efficiency = deprivation”. In this case they appeal to our finest instincts using a lie.

In short, Folole and her family were impacted by a cultural onslaught in which the great power and energy symbols are defined as Bulk-generated electricity and this in part led to her needless early death. But before we can understand why this is so we must know a little more of the history of electricity-use using community grids in New Zealand.

In the period from 1900 or so till 1993 some 60 communities throughout New Zealand established freehold reticulation grids and engaged in one of the most intelligent and democratic electricity markets in the world. Levels of democracy and intelligence varied from place to place and over time. Wellington in the 1970s was light years in advance of where it is now. Christchurch in the 1980s and 90s before the Electricity Reforms was as advanced as any in the world.

And size is no determinant of intelligence in uses of our electrical resources. In the latter decades of the 20th century tiny Power Boards like the Heathcote (5000? consumers) and Palmerston North region (18000? consumers) were developing some of the most sophisticated networks in the world using home-grown demand response and communication systems. These showed the unique potential of community owned structures to use electricity in the most sustainable ways  

By the 1980s New Zealand was beautifully positioned to take advantage of the confluence of several great new technologies that were emerging:

 *Broadband transmitted over the utility wires and accessible at any point or light socket in a dwelling;

* “Smart” appliances and demand/response systems that meant computers seamlessly interacted with grid demand to maximise its potential;

* “Smart” dwelling scale electricity generators;

*Household PCs capable of storing and generating audio, visual and text data on scale. 

The scene was set for an enlightened New Zealand where, for instance, computers at the local clinic could have registered Folole’s struggles to breathe and her local council officials could have had real time data showing her family was at risk, all within a civic framework that protected her rights.

This sadly, as we all know, was not to be. Why not?  This exhilarating confluence of emerging technologies coincided with a new generation of politicians, academic and policy makers who had not experienced and did not wish to face the reality of fascism with its attendant horrors of thuggery, environmental degradation, starvation and general disregard for the sanctity of life. It also coincided with a cyclic need of the global money traders to find new systems and resources to lever debt off and so keep their mountain of debt from imploding.

The money merchants saw the community-owned freehold utility structures as being “under worked”, in other words not working for their advantage as debt generators. The 1980’s saw a new global push to transfer control of these “unrealised assets” from communities to the merchant bankers. Again New Zealand was uniquely vulnerable to this push. A nation of people who see a utility wire as just a “power wire” (i.e. just a means of transmitting Bulk-generated electricity) is not to understand the wire’s value as a profound means of communication or a creativity promoter or civil defence resource. Hence many New Zealand communities were easily persuaded to sell their local “power grids” for just its nuts and bolts value or less.

It is important to understand these electrical grids were created by four generations of New Zealanders actively making sacrifices to ensure that their children inherited resilient freehold utility grids. Also understand the Trusts (Power Boards and MEDs) were created to serve the following objective:

 all citizens in the local community are entitled to and shall have access to lighting, heating and modern appliances/technology.

 The creators of the Trusts were thinking of people like Folole Muliaga.

Past generations of New Zealanders saw these objectives as critical to the welfare system of Aotearoa New Zealand. They viewed investment in the utility infrastructure as our prime form of superannuation. Inspired by this belief they made active decisions to live more simple, even spare lives so this infrastructure could happen.

I know of this altruism and foresight because I during my decades as a meter reader I witnessed this history and saw it in the lives and words of thousands of people, some of whom were alive when Thomas Edison was at the height of his power. I did not read it about it in history books or see it portrayed in our museums. It is hard to find there. Indeed our children cannot easily learn of it because much of the history has been actively erased in the NZ Economic Reforms

This intolerance of history is a feature of fascism, whether it be in the form of the Spanish Inquisition or the Chinese Cultural Revolution or the modern psychopathic corporations or the Taliban destruction of Buddhist history in Afghanistan or the Economic Reforms of New Zealand, which include the Electricity Reforms. Read current Government documents, even those of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, on matters electrical and it is though the national grid system miraculously appeared throughout the New Zealand landscape somewhere after 1980. There is little hint of its source: the restraint, devotion and love that resided in communities throughout our country.

This is the main reason why NZ Treasury officials and politicians acting for the corporations in the Economic Reforms dismissed workers over the age of 45 years of age as “the lost generation”, as “dinosaurs” and as “history”. The corporations targeted this group of people for layoffs because it represented institutional memory. This group retained unwanted knowledge in the workplace of the real history of how New Zealand’s infrastructure was developed.

The new generation of “post war” politicians taking power in our Parliament in the 1980s either did not know of this history or they did not resonate with it. Either way, they were puppets in the hands of the money traders who used them to take control of our utility grids.

Folole’s children should know that was not a simple case of intergenerational theft. Many of these pivotal decisions transferring control of how we can use and share the profits from our electrical resources in New Zealand were made in the period 1985-1998. The nation still laboured then under a Parliamentary system that made it very possible for the new breed of policy makers to dominate our Parliament. The majority of the population wished to retain community ownership of the utility networks. This included the majority of the members of parties like Labour, NZ First and probably United Future. The Parliamentary system made it very easy for a few Cabinet members to ignore the wishes of most our people and overrule any opposition. 

As I detailed in a recent blog

these undemocratic actions resulted in an unprecedented revolution in New Zealand electoral system in which the First Past the Post system operating since our first parliament was replaced by a Mixed Member Proportional system in 1993. However the fuller impact of the change occurred about a year to late to save Folele.

In the early 1990s in cities like Wellington local body politicians and policy makers such as Administration such as those of Hon Fran Wilde and Hon Mark Blumski were close to the new regime. They also lacked a sense of democracy and citizenship. Two thirds of Wellington citizens polled wished to retain ownership of the city’s grid but it was easy for the Wilde-Blumski Administrations to ignore the majority wishes of Wellington citizens. As mentioned some bigger city councils had bought up private companies and in Wellington’s case, the City Council held the title to Capital Power. The councils could simply transfer the title of the local utility network to the agents of the merchant bankers.

The sale of a Trust (Power Board) was more difficult as ownership resided in all those currently named as connected to the local utility grid.  However not even these Trusts are protected in times when journalism and the institutions supporting democracy are derelict. New Zealand has experienced such a time for this last two decades and even our universities are failing us. Some readers will recall how much of this recent period has been dominated by the TINA symbol – “There Is No Alternative” has been the cry of the ruling elite here as they transferred control of utilities to the merchant bankers. 

In such times people with hidden agendas can be elected to the Trust boards where they arrange partial floats and sell offs that result in the total sale of community shares to the merchant bankers at discount rates.

Folole, as a recent immigrant, probably does not know how derelict and undemocratic our institutions were by the late 1980’s - the media, Treasury officials, influential academics and powerful politicians argued that the MEDs and Power Boards were “past their use-by date”. They argued that the objectives on which they were founded were no longer relevant to our modern times, the “Trusts hindered market activity” and so had to be wound up.  

The truth is the Trusts have never more needed or relevant, as the death of Folole Muliaga shows. Indeed they were about to take on a profound new level of relevance shows, as is shown by the remarkable technology some communities in other countries now have access to. Also as humankind exits the Cheap Oil-Gas Age and the limitations of resources such as coal and uranium are revealed then the intelligent uses of electricity and solar resources become critical to our survival as a species. The objectives of the Trusts of ensuring citizens have access to lighting, heating (cooling) and modern technology become even more vital, albeit with a sharper focus on sustainability.

Folole came to a land where many electricity Trusts had been completely destroyed and everyone of them had been rendered impotent. In many instances those consumers that happened to be connected to their local Trust owned grid on an arbitrary date had been given a “pay out”. Standards of journalism and school education were so derelict in her new land that a cargo cult mentality operated among many of the Trust shareholders. Those few beneficiaries of the wind-ups of the near century-old Trusts thought they had somehow “earned” the payout. For many, including highly educated people such as our teachers, it was mana from heaven that somehow parachuted into their lives associated with sweet promises of special deals on a wide-screen television or a new fridge or a jet holiday. Many households in the Trust’s areas missed out because, for instance, their landlords insisted their tenants temporarily sign their connection to the Trust in landlord’s name.

If Folole reads broadsheets such as the New Zealand Herald she will have seen hints that the battle to gain control of our electrical resources is still being waged. She will have seen recent headlines and editorials trashing the Auckland Energy Community Trust (AECT) and saying how it too is “unworkable”. She will not have seen headlines stating that the NZH broadsheet is owned by Sir Tony O’Reilly and he has considerable “energy sector” interests. 

She will not have seen the Prime Minister and Auckland MP, Hon Helen Clark, standing up and telling her local constituents that the wind-up of the Trust and loss of control of Vector Ltd will further destroy New Zealand’s electrical options and plunge households into even greater debt on top of the current escalating $NZ150 billions. Indeed if Folole has looked to our Parliament for guidance she will have found a profound silence on this vital issue that is ominous of fear, greed and ignorance.

Our brief journey through New Zealand’s use of electrical grids nationally, in communities and in dwellings is not quite finished.

In New Zealand the new generation of Labour politicians reformed community structures by creating State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) etc to facilitate the transfer of community-based wealth to the merchant bankers. A significant portion of the Party’s supporters, especially the more elderly who had experienced fascism in the 1930-40s, objected and withdrew their lifelong support for the new breed of Labour leaders as they recognised its resurgence in New Zealand post 1985. As mentioned I learned history in the raw from these folk. I find it humbling to note that some who were the most prophetic and perceptive of the nature of fascism had very little formal education and worked as labourers all their lives. Indeed some of them predicted to their meter reader 10 years before it happened that the electrical grids in our communities and dwellings would soon be subject to a fascist regime. I was that meter reader and I did not understand them at all at the time.

The Labour Party lost the 1990 elections because of the loss of these crucial elements of its support base. However the new breed of politician remained in power in our institutions and in particular in the form of the National-led Governments after 1990.

These Governments continued the process started by Labour’s Electricity Reforms. 

First in 1993 they legislated to force communities to adopt “business practices”, which is another way of saying they had to open their freehold grid structures to debt accumulation. Another objective of the new legislation is to ensure the optimising of the inefficient uses of electricity.  Communities were forced to form companies that were limited to and committed to enhancing sales of Bulk-gen electricity. 

This might sound insane until you recall that same merchant bankers also make the largest short term profits from the rapid depletion of coal, Gas and oil reserves and from stressed grids with high peak loads. That is how, about the time the younger of Folole’s children was being born, New Zealand came to flare off precious Natural Gas reserves as quickly as our technology would permit while the biggest spill-overs of our hydro-dams in our history occurred .

The Electricity Reform legislation of the National-NZ First Coalition devolved power to central Government, making it a super “nanny state” with the money traders wearing the apron and wielding the disciplinary paddle. The extreme legislation even made the promotion of community values and considerations illegal! For instance, an MED or Power Board might develop intelligent load control systems on its community network which meant it saved the community millions of dollars in its trades on the national Bulk-gen Electricity Market. Instead of receiving the money back directly as cash discounts or lower prices the community might decide to reinvest it in technology that reduced the need of the community to be dependent on Bulk-generated electricity. 

Under the new legislation it was illegal for communities to reward their energy efficient consumers with lower supply charges or to invest in insulation in dwellings so their shareholders could use electricity and other resources more wisely. Such practices were deemed “anti-competitive practices” and “unfair subsidies”. The very sick irony of these arguments is that the Electricity Reforms forbade the average citizen from competing in the Electricity Market as they had for 80 years and that the transfer of the utility grids to the bankers were billion dollars subsidies on a breath taking scale.

Communities such as Christchurch city refused to cooperate and maintained models that showed the fallacy that it was necessary to transfer ownership of local utility grids to multinational companies to achieve world-class performance. They had to be destroyed and the fascist legislation of the National-NZ First administration (the 1998 Electricity Reforms) forced all communities to divest of either their utility grid itself or its intelligence structure. 

Effectively this disenfranchised 99.9% of New Zealanders from having a democratic say in how the most essential element driving their economy is run. A national vote means nothing if the people being voted for are powerless to promote a sustainable infrastructure for our children. Participants in the current New Zealand “nanny state” Electricity Market are now limited to a dozen large "nanny" corporations, mainly controlled by overseas merchant bankers. They dominate most aspects of electricity use including regulatory structures, media discussion, dwelling design and education curricula in the land Folole emigrated to.

A Radio NZ item this week reports National Party spokesperson on “energy”, Gerry Brownlee, as saying the New Zealand electricity industry is now “extremely regulated”. He is correct and it was his Party and its coalition partners that created the most extreme regulations when it destroyed democracy in the 1998 Electricity Reforms. One characteristic of fascism is extreme regulations which serve the narrow interests of only a few people.

And as mentioned, fascism is a recipe for misery. New Zealanders can now only enjoy the benefits of the confluence of technologies on the terms of these merchant bankers and for most part these few people have decided we are to be denied most of the benefits. This can been seen clearly in statistics that show recent rapid declines in our nation’s performance. Genuine broadband uptake and uses has plummeted relative to the world, oil/Gas addictive behaviour has worsened as have crime rates, inflation pressures and interest rates are increasing, supply v demand investment ratios in Bulk-gen electricity sector are 100s: 1, dwelling efficiency stagnates and household debt is rising exponentially. And the statistics now also record Folole Muliaga’s death.

I have mentioned this new wave of attacks on community ownership was a worldwide phenomenon. Peat Marwick (KPMG), Arthur Andersen and Co and other powerful consulting agencies spearheaded it. They advised on the creation of Enron in the US and TransAlta-NGC-OnEnergy here in NZ. In brief: It is no coincidence that Enron and OnEnergy collapsed within months of each other in 2001. No one has ever investigated the failure of OnEnergy and this forms a stinging indictment of the state of journalism in NZ compared to that in the USA. With 530,000 consumers (one third of all NZ) the relative scale of the cost of the collapse to this nation is far greater than that of Enron on the USA. If the movie on the latter is anything to go by then the psychopathy of the NZ conglomerate is even worse.

As an employee of Capital Power-TransAlta I worked directly with consultants such as Arthur Andersen and Co (now defunct here and in the USA). I will add a footnote at the end that enlarges a little on these key things you should know of the doctrine of Arthur Andersen and Co et al:

(1)            People with a sense of decency are history. They are history because they resonate with the civic nature of the previous structures and residual memories of this must be eliminated. 

(2)            People have no value. They are simply tradable commodities to be sold off to the highest bidder. Social, environmental and Civil Defence considerations are liabilities. Community structures have no value except to be levered off.

(3)            Bulk-generated electricity has no intrinsic value. It is another commodity such as cabbages or bread that can be traded. It is there to be traded as an object devoid of social/environmental considerations. “The market” shall determine its value.

(4)            Alternative resources such as micro-generated electricity and direct solar transformation of dwellings must be neutralised i.e. suppressed. Energy efficiency, in particular intelligent uses of the utility grid, is also suppressed. Both threaten “market returns” and short-term profits of corporations. 

(5)            Banker-controlled Corporations shall own The Electricity Market

(6)            Community and national electrical grids are for gaming. Stressed grids generate the best short-term profits.

(7)            Science is a liability. Its key insights as revealed in the power and energy symbols must be suppressed regardless of the negative impacts on humanity.

If I heard Radio NZ National correctly, Folole and her family immigrated to our country in 2000 in the hope of giving her family more opportunities. This means the MMP revolution of our electoral system was just months too late to save her. In the first election held under MMP in 1996 the New Zealand First Party gave the electorate the impression that if it were elected it would support the Labour Party, which had by this time publicly renounced the activities of its predecessors in selling national assets. After the election the NZ First party instead supported the National Party and ensured the 1998 Electricity Reforms could be enacted. It also enabled the sale of an SOE (State Owned Enterprise) called Contact Energy, which controlled about a quarter of New Zealand’s Bulk-generated electricity capacity. 


These two actions affectively gave the bankers the leverage they required to effectively control most uses of electricity in New Zealand. 

After the 1999 elections a Labour-led coalition was formed. It was elected on the basis of promises to stop any further forced sales of community assets and to clean up the “electricity shambles”. While it did cease such activities it failed to buy back the newly privatised Contact Energy and Labour framed its showcase Parliamentary Inquiry into Electricity in 2000 

to ensure the Electricity Reforms remained intact. I suspect this was part of the crusade it embarked on to convince the merchant bankers  that the new Labour-led Government was “business friendly.” The new Minister of Energy, Hon Pete Hodgson, repeatedly stated that the Government believed in "business derived solutions" were the best response. By contrast, He gave the concept of "community derived solutions" was given little credence.

Hence now we witness the common sight of current Government Ministers such as Hons Pete Hodgson, Chris Carter, Michael Cullen et al reduced to wringing their hands in anguish and stating that the sale of Contact Energy and the Electricity Reform legislation prevent them making intelligent comment or taking initiatives to ameliorate the profoundly dysfunctional state of our electrical grid structures.

And when Folole died, the Hon Helen Clark, our Prime Minister, was helpless and confused as any. She had steadfastly refused to advise her electorate and the nation that the privatisation of Vector Ltd puts us all at greater risk because it controlls the utility grids in both the nation’s capital city and its largest city. Her administration has been incapable of informing the Auckland people how Vector Ltd is about to assume a vast new potential value to communities because of the great confluence of technologies I spoke of.

And so it came to be that in the last week of May in 2007 New Zealand had a Prime Minister who has no vision of the potential of electricity, an impotent Parliament, a failing democracy, a derelict journalism profession and a banker-driven media, an incoherent national utility grid and a serious lack of science in all its institutions -including our schools.

Helen Clark could only go into blind “damage control” mode and blame the SOE, Mighty River Power, and its “retail” subsidiary Mercury Energy, for it was one of their contractors who was directly involved in cutting off Folole Muliaga’s access to Bulk-generated electricity. Hence headlines like the following:

Crazy Power Company Behaviour Tackled By PM

The NZ National Party’s Gerry Brownlie could only respond in similar ignorant way saying Mercury Energy is to be blamed and that all the regulations are in place to prevent this sort of event. There was no hint of recognition in his statement that his party enacted the legislation and promoted the culture that put her at such risk.

The truth is Helen Clark is culpable for the needless death of Folole, as her party. Gerry Brownlie is culpable too, as is his party. As an ex-meter reader with much knowledge of the powerful role of Bulk-gen electricity industry plays in the family psyche I can say the disconnection contractor is culpable. The truth is every person capable of reading this is culpable. 

There is much we can learn from Folole Muliaga’s life and death. We can experience humility in her life. We can know the compassion of her family. And we can honour her by appealing to the best in each of us and creating a world-leading model of intelligent uses of electricity. Here’s how:

Let all our highly paid constitutional experts set aside their academic sinecures and rich consultancies. Let them stand up and state that the Electricity Reforms are profoundly anti-democratic if not plain fascist. Let them explain why The Electricity Reforms must be repealed and New Zealanders re-enfranchised.

Let all our people employed in the current Bulk-gen electricity sector stand up and say “I do not enjoy working in a structure that is a recipe for disaster for my children”. There are many of you who know this truth in your guts. And let the managers of the corporations join together and go to the Government as say,  “Repeal the Electricity Reforms and replace it with legislation that enables us to make uses of electricity that respect and celebrate all its manifestations so the welfare of all humans is advanced. We will cease from this moment our past practice of spending countless millions of dollars ensuring the culture than enables this unsustainable legislation.”

Let every political party acknowledge that it is responsible for the needless death of Folole for every party actively employs uses of key symbols that destroy science and our capacity to use our electrical resources with wisdom. Every party helped generate the fascist Electricity Reforms; none more so perhaps than the Green Party. Let every Member of Parliament be opened to the magic of electricity and be driven by a desire that all may share its joy.

Let all those merchant bankers who have such power over our lives take a moment in memory of Folole and ask, “Is my life’s work of any worth if I just leave my children an inheritance of war, disease and misery?”  Let each banker become inspired by the challenge of promoting systems and technologies that mean human activities are in exquisite harmony with the balances of the universe that sustain us.

Let all those in our universities, our media and our Public Relations industry (they are effectively the one and the same these days) decide that science is sacred and henceforth their activities will be driven by the great requisites for science to exist – inclusiveness, honesty, compassion, reflection, inquiry etc. No more will they destroy the great symbols of science. From now on the power, energy and electricity symbols will only be used with great respect so that all their wonderful potential is conserved. And when their colleagues in these industries exploit and abuse the symbols, let the enlightened ones enforce industry standards and guidelines. Let them use all their skills in communication to expose the flaws and lies being perpetrated. 

Let all those teachers in our schools and communities, especially all those who call themselves Environmental Educators and Consumer Advisors stop for moments of reflection in honour of Folole and ask, “ Can I any longer excuse my compromised use of these great symbols of science? They may seem convenient terms to use but what if they do only really serve the interests of greed-driven humans? What if they do maim and kill?” And let these teachers be filled with the courage to review their careers, their resources and their lessons so that in future they promote a New Zealand in which Folole’s children enjoy the benefits of dwellings that use all possible manifestations of electricity.

Let our teachers cease to tell our children that energy, power and electricity come out of a socket in the wall. Let our children know that Micro, Dwelling and Nano generated electricity also exist and how these resources can supplement Bulk-generated electricity. 

Let our teachers tell our children of Atmospheric electricity and Bioelectricity so they can use our solar and biological potential to sustain us. 

Let our teachers in our schools and in our community councils teach us all how our dwellings can be used as generators and active contributors in making our community and national utility grids resilient against all manner of risks and threats.

Let our health authorities understand that any culture that confuses electricity with one of its manifestation is profoundly at risk. Let them stand up and state that the calculated promotion of family and community psyches based on addictive uses of Bulk-gen electricity is a national health risk. It is a disease. We all know that it was not the fact that Folole’s oxygen machine stopped that killed her. Let us acknowledge the more real cause: our carefully cultured dependence on Bulk-generated electricity is now so critical to a parent’s sense of power and self esteem that the action of disconnection from the grid can cause disintegration of the person, the family and the business.

As a meter reader who gave out hundreds of thousands of Bulk-gen bills on the spot I witnessed them send people comatose and into spasms of angina, tip them into insanity and flip their business into insolvency. Many of our elderly told me that they can live for periods without food but they cannot live any period without heating. Hence they feared their “power bill” more than anything else in their lives.

Folole was one of the 87% of New Zealanders who now live in our urban areas. Gardening is a lost art. Unlike our ancestors and some rural folk, an urban dweller cannot simply chop down nearby trees to heat and cook with, even if one is physically capable of doing this. We know this in our guts. That is why Folole’s death created such a deep resonance throughout New Zealand. Even rich people with great means know their own lifestyle is only possible because their aged and vulnerable parents have access to Bulk-generated electricity. They know how powerless our dwellings are. They know the trauma that disconnection of that aged person from the community electrical grid would bring to all their lives.

New technology exists which means we can construct dwellings that supply many of these basic needs but as I have outlined, the current legislation blocks this sustainable development. So let our health professionals stand up and condemn the Electricity Reforms as a health and Civil Defence hazard.

Let our resource-use regulators such as those in EECA, BRANZ, the Ministry for Economic Development and the Electricity Commission join with our health authorities in exposing the dangers of the legislation. All our political Parties actively support the current ownership structures imposed on us by the Electricity Reforms, whether directly or through the agencies they promote. Let the people in these agencies explain to the public and our politicians that the current ownership structure of vital electrical systems is fatally flawed because its lacks one simple thing -democracy. All the regulations in the world will not make it work to reduce the risks for people. Let them explain how the structure actively prevents the intelligent use of electricity and other great resources in communities and how their work is as useless as that of stewards mopping the passageways on a Titanic even as it is sinking.

Let these policy makers stand up and expose the myriad of regulations which they know in their guts are designed to suppress our intelligence.

For instance let us signal our belief in a truly resilient national utility grid by removing restrictions on people having a reversible meter. Let us eliminate all the ludicrous compliance and tax costs loaded onto us by current stultifying regulations that insist householders must have two meters if they wish to contribute Dwelling-generated electricity to the local utility grid. 

For instance let New Zealanders once again have the right to know and control all the information about how their dwelling works. Let us cease treating our people as tradable commodities and begin treating them as citizens again with rights to vote and to own knowledge. Let us enshrine the right of every citizen to own and use knowledge with intelligence - as they once could through their community democracies.

The belated advent of “smart” technology such as ARC Innovations (Meridian Energy) is rolling out means that NZ citizens now have the technical capacity to relay using radio links the real-time information about their use of Bulk-gen and Dwelling-gen electricity use to ever they wish. However they do not have the effective capacity to use it. The current fascist legislation means this information is effectively the property of the merchant bankers and their agents. Citizens cannot automatically relay it to their local city or regional council, farmer’s co-op, electricity trust or independent consumer advisory group. Even if citizens still own their local utility grid they cannot combine its intelligence with the data from their own dwellings to trade and generate electricity on the NZ Electricity Market. 

Let us reject the banker’s symbols and sterile morality. Let us acknowledge that electricity is a precious resource, not just a commodity. Hence let every one, including our Prime Minister, know that the Power Boards and MEDs were not just “retailers” and this term is just “banker’s speak”. Let us all recognise they were very potent centres of intelligence, linking their local citizens to a raft of social agencies, local planners and scientific resources within their communities. MEDs such as that in Christchurch were involved in the development of world class heating, cooling and generation systems such as the Whispergen, intelligent demand response systems, providing citizens advice on all levels and the city’s social services committees were intimately aware of the impact of pricing and bill schedules on residents in the city. 

Let us recognise the evil lie in perpetrated by those bankers who frame their activities as simply being “retailers” of a commodity when they know full well they are intelligence agencies that can control how dwellings are designed and used, how people consume a wide range of goods and how Government policy is formulated. That lie helped kill Folole Muliaga.

Let us be clear that “smart” technology is not necessarily intelligent technology. It only develops true intelligence when it is used with wisdom. Technology, such as that provided by ARC Innovations, can be used to destroy us or it can be used to reduce the present high risk of war, famine and unfavourable climate changes. The advertisements on the Arc Websites reflect in chilling detail the current Orwellian regime we are subject to and they are ominous of the future. 

I was a meter reader after the 1979 “oil shock” and experienced the trauma of families and business in the resulting stagflation and unemployment. Many times in that period I presented people with a Bulk-gen bill that split the family, condemned an aged person to a bed-ridden existence or finished off a small business.

Global oil and Gas prices dropped through the 1990s till oil was a mere $US10 a barrel in 1999. This enables supporters of the Economic Reforms to still say the associated drop in inflation and rise in employment was because of their fiscal actions. Such nonsensical claims were especially true of the Electricity Reformers and they could point to lower prices and disconnection rates where such figures still remained available. Rising oil and Gas prices again are showing the lie in their claims. As stagflation deepens in oil-addicted nations like ours then a historic number of people will have to disconnect themselves from the grid.

Let us develop a framework that provides and promotes the finest vision of electricity in all its possible manifestations and their possible uses. As suggested earlier, let us review our national education resources. Also let us, for instance, provide a framework that assesses whether our use of national and community utility grid structures enable such a vision. I have created a prototype that rates grids on a scale from

Category 1: High intelligent meter/grid

Category 6: High incoherent meter/grid.

When this is assessment is applied to the Electricity Reforms in New Zealand it becomes clear that they are deliberated designed to generate a category 6 utility grid and they are very successful in achieving this objective. The reason our media cannot show a single example of a household contributing to our utility grid in an intelligent way is because none exist. The media can only show households that are either act as a dumb participator of their local utility grid or operate completely independently of that grid. Neither is a sustainable model in our highly urbanised age. Neither enables the development of a resilient utility grid.

Let us all act as caring responsible citizens. I can say with some authority the disconnection that the technician who cut off Folole’s access to Bulk-gen electricity is culpable too. He, like I, has been faced with the invidious choice of acting in inhumane ways in an uncaring system. He, like I, will know the current system does not provide effective care for our most vulnerable citizens. With the advent of the Electricity Reforms most of the measures protecting meter readers, disconnection technicians and citizens were demolished. Probably he, like I, was told we are “ just meter reading” and “disconnection” contractors and that is all the new system wants or desires of us. Any activity beyond the immediate terms of our contracts can result in our sacking and worse. 

Information that used to be public knowledge is now the property of a few select individuals in the new Reform culture – even knowledge that shows the public interest is at risk. These people guard the knowledge jealously using battalions of amoral lawyers under the guise of “commercial sensitivity” and “competitive advantage”. 

If the disconnection contractor does perceive threats to the public good, then his income, his career, his family and his life are under severe threat in the age of the Electricity Reforms in New Zealand. I know this from bitter experience. I spoke out for the public good, as I am speaking out now, and have paid a great price.

Let all those supervising the disconnection contractor acknowledge they too are culpable for the death of Folole – and for the terrible knowledge the poor contractor will live with for the rest of his life. I can advise that one may end up losing family, home, income, superannuation, and career but that is far preferable to working in the current Bulk-gen electricity sector and being a positive risk to society. Let our managers never more put their employees and contractors in that position.

Of course the new “smart” metering means a new breed of contractor technicians is emerging to replace the disconnection contractor. It also means that managers will directly control the lives of citizens on an even greater scale. 

 The new technology means the corporation managers can more even more easily absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions. “Smart” metering means all disconnections from the utility grids will be done electronically. The disconnection will not be of a human face but of a connection number (or “energy number” in Electricity Reform Speak.)

Already these corporations managers talk of a universe in which there something called “Pre-paid energy”. In this brave new world the New Zealand people who now have few rights to use electricity with intelligence are given the right to cut themselves off from the grid, saving the merchant bankers and their agents the cost and possible public embarrassment of having to physically disconnect citizens. The new dictates of ”Commercial sensitivity” in a so-called “competitive market” ensure only those few individuals who can tolerate being managers in psychopathic corporations will know the true picture of deprivation in communities. They will be able to manipulate the Electricity Commission as they please.

So all this means it is truly the time for us to gather together and create a worthy tribute to the life and death of Folole Muliaga in the form of a nation that provides the world with a model of truly intelligent uses of electricity. It is eminently possible for New Zealand has been such a model before. Let us release the power in the democratisation of our people and our communities again. In providing such a model  we may well find the risks we now face globally from warfare, disease and the collapse of supporting environmental systems become dramatically diminished of their own accord. Our current “extreme regulatory structures” will give way to sustainable guidelines generated by the existence of science and democracy in our daily lives.

And if it is as I think I heard that Folole is symbolic of flower in Samoan, then let there be a great flowering of our culture.

I will post a few extra notes below for those dedicated to understanding more about how things operate at present and could operate in the future. My vague plan is that my next blog shall reveal what happened to Wellington City under the Electricity Reforms.

And now for this blog’s awards:

The Bonus Joules Award goes to Augie Auer who died yesterday.

About 15 years ago I ran into a Met Office person on my meter round. He encouraged me to do what he could not – write to TVNZ about its abysmal coverage of the weather. So I wrote a lengthy letter arguing that TVNZ insulted the intelligence of New Zealanders with its “two second” daily bulletin. I pointed out many of us were fascinated by the climate around us and we were being deprived of the smart graphics people in other countries enjoyed. We wanted to know more how weather systems work and also many of us were very dependent on forecasts so we could plan what to wear and do in our commercial activities. We made major health and investment decision on the basis of each day’s forecast e.g. adverse weather could ruin a major concrete pour or farm operation. We needed people who are knowledgeable of the subject as presenters.

To my surprise TVNZ responded to most of my requests and so began the new era of Jim Hickey and computer graphics. TV3 responded by engaging Augie Auer and he was everything I dreamed of – passionate and knowledgeable about the subject, shining in his enthusiasm to communicate the awesome dynamics of weather systems and gifted at explaining the same phenomenon in many different ways – something that is vital for slow learners like me. 

It was a sign of the depths of depravity that TV3 has sunk to that a couple of years ago they sacked this great teacher of our weather as “too old” to be on their screens.

Augie, like many Americans, had difficulty accepting the possibility that their actions may be impacting on trace climate balances and perhaps did not acknowledge the aggregate risks associated with our current uses of carbon. However he retained a greater level of science than many of those “climate experts” who dismissed him as a fool and we can be grateful he helped identify some of the major flaws in their vision of the universe. He helped many of us more fully engage in the dynamism and beauty of our climate. Thank you Augie.

The Junk Joules Award goes to the Reserve Bank which yesterday gambling hundreds of millions of New Zealander’s dollars in a futile attempt to lower the value of the $NZ. It’s failure to acknowledge and inform New Zealanders of the fact that our inflation and high dollar are being generated by our addictive uses of oil and Gas is costing us dearly. It is the resurgence of the prices of these limited resources plus our failure to use electricity wisely that has driven inflation through the 3% barrier, causing rate rises and “hot money” to flow into the country. This precipitates the existing destructive spiral generated by the decisions of the 1980s to divert capital investment from sustainable electrical and rail infrastructure (our true superannuation) to the money traders, which in turn, after the 1987 Stock Market implosion, led to the desperate belief that the only reliable superannuation investment resided in multiple-dwelling ownership. The Reserve Bank’s action only compounds the destructive impacts the proposed Kiwi Saver Scheme will have and I predict it will generate further risk of debt and misery. Also any economy that is dependent on a constant expansion of its population is clearly failing. Ours is such an economy.

And for those unfamiliar with my blog, the cartoon panel that accompanies it was first published in 2003 as New Zealand was having yet another crisis because of its unsustainable uses of our electrical resources.  As always at such times our politicians call in the likes of the large multinational “energy consultants” such as Arthur Andersen and Co and its subsequent incarnations. Their qualities of amorality, arrogance, cocksureness, callousness and manipulation I characterised in the form of Junk Joules. This panel was a seminal point in which Bonus Joules and Junk Joules embrace. I was to continue my artistic journey in search the nature of energy for several more panels before I finally saw what was now staring me in the face - the cartoon strip has revealed Bonus Joules and Junk Joules are the yin and yang within us. More on my website on the nature of energy efficiency practice. It was a spooky moment when I finally realised the profound implications of the graphic.


The Disconnection Industry

Disconnects-reconnects can be a ready cashflow for all concerned.  For instance I know in one company the contractors were paid $6 for disconnection/reconnections/final readings. A fast operator can do up to 50 a day. The company charged customers $37 for each disconnect and connect operation. Most of the decisions to disconnect could be computer generated i.e. involved little extra company expense.

My new company Meridian charges $70 non-payment  disconnection fee, $40 disconnection fee,  $50 Reconnection Fee ($110 urgent i.e. four hours or after Mon-Friday.)

The Electricity Commission has just confirmed to me that reliable figures on disconnections no longer exist. Its statistics only date from about a year ago and they are relatively meaningless as different Bulk-gen companies report using different criteria. My memory of the last figures I saw date from before the Reforms i.e. about 1993. Performance varied then between utilities e.g. disconnection statistics were Southpower 2000, (12000 customers?), Capital Power1800 (56000 customers?) and Hutt Mana Energy Trust 7200 (79000 customers?). When the multinational corporation TransAlta assumed control of the intelligence divisions of these three utilities it adopted the lowest common denominator of the accounting and billing systems. In particular it adopted the relatively incoherent and risky Hutt Mana systems. Hence the revolt in Christchurch in 1998 when the city’s world-leading systems were replaced by the new corporation structures. 

The metering/response industry.

In the early 1990s it was anticipated all New Zealanders would be using locally- owned, “smart metering” systems by 2000. Instead a large portion of the funds involved has been transferred to the money merchants. For instance, the new owners of the last decade have charged us a rental of $50 a year on an item that currently costs only $30 to import and at least of million of which were already freehold and written off in the 1970s or 80s. It is probable the Electricity Reforms has given them at least $500,000,000 pure cash flow.

On the positive side the retention of mechanical metering has protected New Zealanders from the violent excesses made possible by electronic metering. 

Efficient uses of resources.

Maybe more in my next blog.  I will just comment about the restructuring of the Wellington MED from a service driven culture to the profit driven culture Capital Power-TransAlta by the likes of Arthur Andersen and Co. Sackings occurred in this order: the appliance showroom, the consumer advisory officers who visited homes advising on best resource use practices and bill management strategies, the business efficiency advisors plus their intelligence systems and technologies (data logging etc), managers who supported such systems, the safety officers, electrical inspectors, disconnection staff and then meter readers.

 A rule of thumb in predicting order of sacking was that the greater the integrity and the commitment of a person to efficient uses of valuable resources the greater the greater their risk of being sacked.

Community versus Corporation

It is very difficult for bankers and keynote shareholders based in distant cities and foreign lands to empathise with the needs of communities hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. For instance I live in Wellington and for the past five years I have purchased Bulk-generated electricity from Trustpower – a company based in Tauranga 500 miles away. I have been prepared to pay a high premium because I know this company is the only one in New Zealand that retains most of the security provisions that protected householders and businesses before the Electricity Reforms. However there is no way a company based in Tauranga can know of and inform me of all the social support networks in my city, can inform local building codes and transport systems, less still understand the unique risks and opportunities provided by the Wellington environment. Not even the best-intentioned management in Tauranga can do this for customers living in widespread locations across the nation.

Measuring intelligent-incoherent utility grids:

Grids and meters can be understood from a number of perspectives:

One is that the grid is a system that transmits electrical energy,. The meter measures the flow rate.

A second perspective is that it is a system for generating and monitoring cash flows. “Infrastructure bankers” and allied industries view it this way.

A third perspective is that the utility grid is an essential component of health and Civil Defence structures.

A fourth perspective is that it is a civil structure incorporating a country’s sense of nationhood and justice. 

A fifth perspective is that the utility grid is a communication system and the meter (including the ripple relay) is a switch in that communication system. This perspective takes on a new relevance as three great technologies converge in a very powerful confluence. I refer to modern Distributed Generation options, computer-based dwelling appliances that can respond to grid fluctuations and broadband over utility wires. 

The destruction of the ripple control system in New Zealand by the Neocom inspired Electricity Reforms has show very clearly that technology is subservient to behavioural factors. This is just a minor example. Hence it is essential that we highlight the role of the grid/meter technology as communication resource

I propose we grade the grid/meter technology in a continuum from “intelligent” to “incoherent”. 

Category 1: High intelligent meter/grid

  • Dwelling encouraged to make a small net contribution to the grid.
  • Charges on low amp systems reflect “grid costs”.
  • Broadband throughout grid system within dwelling.
  • Dwelling occupant has access to data on appliance function (including electricity generators and thermal/electrical storage devices), dwelling comfort levels and local grid loads.
  • Detailed consumption history of dwelling freely available.
  • Local grid management and dwelling occupant can maintain seamless two-way conversation using broadband (wireless or grid).
  • System primarily driven by democratic, energy efficiency and civil defence imperatives.


Category 2: Moderate intelligent meter/grid.

  • Dwelling can make small net contribution to the grid with minimal impediment.
  • Charges on low amp systems partially reflect “grid costs”.
  • Dwelling occupant has access to data on appliance function (including electricity generators and thermal/electrical storage devices), dwelling comfort levels and local grid loads.
  • Detailed history of occupant’s consumption history freely available
  • Local grid management and dwelling occupant can maintain seamless two-way conversation using 56 K (wireless or grid).
  • System driven by democratic, energy efficiency and civil defence imperatives.

Category 3: Low intelligent meter/grid.

  • Dwelling can make small net contribution to the grid with minimal impediment.
  • Dwelling occupant has primitive access to data on appliance function (including electricity generators and thermal/electrical storage devices), dwelling comfort levels and local grid loads.
  • Local grid management and dwelling occupant can maintain two-way conversation using ripple relay.
  • System driven by democratic, energy efficiency and civil defence imperatives.

Category 4: Low incoherent meter/grid.

  • Dwelling can make small contribution to the grid with minimal impediment.
  • Low amp system subject to small penalty.
  • Communication is one-way and dictated by local grid/Bulk-electricity supplier regardless of communication potential of dwelling appliances.
  • Minimum or conflicting support for energy efficiency practice.
  • Civil Defence considerations minimal

Category 5: Moderate incoherent meter/grid.

  • Dwelling can make small contribution to the grid but subject to serious impediments such as double metering and high taxation on transaction.
  • Estimation algorithms produce 10-20% average inaccuracy in bills flawed.
  • Low amp system subject to moderate penalty.
  • Energy efficiency practice not supported
  • Civil Defence considerations minimal

Category 6: High incoherent meter/grid.

  • Meter switched off to two-way flow i.e. only flow of Bulk-generated electricity permitted.
  • Low amp system subject to large penalty for low Bulk-electricity demand through high tariffs and ripple control rentals.
  • Consumption histories not maintained or hard to access.
  • Meters inaccurate.
  • Estimation algorithms produce 20% plus average inaccuracy in bills flawed.
  •  System driven by short-term profit imperatives of bankers of Bulk-electricity/fossil fuel sector.
  • System actively promotes inefficient uses of Bulk-electricity.
  • No Civil Defence considerations or valued as liabilities.


More on Arthur Andersen and Co philosophy

Note this company not only advised the Bulk-gen electricity conglomerates such as Enron in the USA and WCC-TransAlta in New Zealand. In 1999 it is also reputed to have created a 10 years strategy for Monsanto that would have enabled this corporation to control the entire biomass energy potential of the world using Genetic Engineering legislation. Fortunately communities in Europe and Africa have combined to stymie the strategy though Monsanto is resurgent.

(1)          People with a sense of decency are history. They are history because they resonate with the civic nature of the previous structures and residual memories of this must be eliminated. Hence at Capital Power decent people became “history” i.e. were the prime targets for sacking. It was possible to predict accurately which managers would be sacked and who would be retained on this basis. 

(2)          People have no value. Community owned structures tended to place considerable value on human life. This was reflected in investment in many social mechanisms (more later) and civil defence structures. The corporations saw people as tradeable commodities. The value of electricity consumers was not only in their capacity as Bulk-gen electricity consumers. They were captive marketing groups in the new electronic age I referred to, to be sold on block to fellow corporate traders (See trades between the likes of Fresh Start Energy, Trust Power, Contact Energy etc). They have no care or interest in the welfare of individual consumers or whether the new owner has provisions in place to protect consumers. Civil defence structures in this context are accounted for as liabilities.

(3)          Bulk-generated electricity has no intrinsic value. It is another commodity such as cabbages or bread that can be traded. (The words of Arthur Anderson and Co consultants in NZ and their appointed executives.). This is fine if there are options to bread, cabbages and Bulk-gen electricity. However much of the value of our electrical resource resides in its means of transmission – the electrical grid. Regulations make it extremely difficult for individuals or communities to make alternative uses of the grid or use alternatives to the grid. The latter is particularly true now that 87% of New Zealanders are urban based now.       Note how in both California and New Zealand where this belief was adopted the utility grid is simply seen as something to be stressed to enhance its gaming potential. Hence the continuing loss of resilience of both grids and continuing threats of collapse of both systems.

(4)          Alternative resources such as micro-generated electricity and direct solar transformation of dwellings must be neutralised i.e. suppressed. Energy efficiency, in particular intelligent uses of the grid, is also suppressed. Both threaten short-term profits of corporations. In NZ corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last thirty years re-engineering the energy and power symbols to directly associate them with Bulk-gen electricity and fossil fuels, associating the energy efficiency symbol with deprivation, using sponsorship to re-engineer our national school curriculum and in general cultivating the climate that enables the current fascist legislation. Even public broadcasters like Radio NZ National form an important advertising conduit for them.



As Wiki points out the meaning of the fascism symbol is subject to varied and furious debate. I apply it to the New Zealand Electricity Reforms and certain modern corporations using Mussolini’s definition.


In this case the full powers of the State are used to enforce a regime in which the fundamental driver of the technology enabling a nation (electrical resources) is owned and controlled by a select group. This framework of governance also includes powerful control structures (corporations including SOEs), which mirror the fascist state.

From Mussolini

Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.


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