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    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    The joys of private enterprise

    You may recall my recent post about a power failure. Well, it happened again. Fifteen hours of electricity, then nothing for twenty two hours. Towns as much as 400k's away were affected by the same blackout. The Ergon Energy recorded message said that they were working on the problem, they didn't know how long it would take to restore power because they didn't know what the problem actually was and if you had any information which might help them work it out, then call them on **** ****. Since SEQEB and the other government electricity generating organisations have been privatised/corporatised or whatever the fuck the label is this week, maintenance staff levels have been cut by 50 - 75%, depending on which current/ex-employee you talk to. The same thing happened in Un Zud a year ot two ago when Australian staff had to be flown in to get Auckland up and running again.
    Guess what's going to happen to the phone service when the full privatisation of Telstra goes ahead? You know, the same full privatisation that in 1996 Honest John said would never happen under any government of which he is leader.
    The service will stay about the same as it is for a brief period of time, then begin sliding. At first, probably there will be little discernible difference, but wait until there is a major problem.

    9 Comments:

    Blogger Tony.T said...

    They should just get on with privatizing Telstra and stop stuffing around. The sooner it's turned into a proper company, the better.

    Should a few ... ahem ... outlying Qld cotton growers be inconvenienced, well, that's the price of progress.

    12/08/2004 01:52:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Why is that Tony? You can't seriously believe you will get cheaper/better telecommunications as a result; it hasn't happened in any other industry. It was returning money to the taxpayer, so that will have to be made up somewhere, I just don't see any advantages in it. (Cue the RWDBs and hangers on spouting rhetoric they don't understand).
    Beside which, I see basic communications as a right, not a privilege. Dicky power is OK, generators can cover that, but it's a bit hard to jerry-rig a phone network.

    12/08/2004 02:17:00 pm  
    Blogger Adie said...

    I agree with you on this Dirk. As it is, Tesltra is utter crap. As a Monopoly in a previous life, the company regularly shat on its customers from a great height. Bigpond is a classic example too. High prices, massive restrictions, shaping, changing the rules anytime they want ...... it's junk.
    I can't see Telstra lifting its game as a private enterprise. It will be more of the same and worse.
    I don't think US utilities are great shining lights in advocacy of privatisation.

    12/08/2004 02:22:00 pm  
    Blogger rat said...

    we had a 2-3 hour power failure last wednesday, from just south of wollongong to ulladulla. no notice, no warning, and apparently it was done on purpose to sort out some kind of "load shedding" or some crap. local businesses were very pissed. a few companies lost raw materials that couldn't be converted and stuff like that. they estimate about $300,000 for all the local companies that have put their hands up so far. some said they were very lucky...
    used to have a good power company, got privatised, then the state govt forced them to join a much larger company, which, you guessed it, cut maintenance...
    that's all third hand though, but after 12-13 years of no problems, we've had more and more regular blackouts

    12/08/2004 06:30:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Adie,
    I've heard a lot of stories about the evils of Telecom/Telstra, but I've never had a major problem with them. (The company which has the contract to install the dishes for satellite broadband on the other hand...)
    Rat,
    the service delivery may have gone downhill, they may have slashed staff; with its flow-on effect(see Latrobe Valley in the '90s) and still maintain prices at the same levels relative to inflation, but at least it isn't an evil socialist prganisation anymore.

    12/09/2004 01:53:00 am  
    Blogger rat said...

    heh well thank the gods for that. i'm not gonna ask what we are instead though. ignorance is bliss...

    12/09/2004 04:28:00 am  
    Blogger Tony.T said...

    I'm greedy, I want to invest in it.

    12/09/2004 05:36:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Tony,
    step into my office, I've got this little startup company... It's a niche business in a sunrise industry...

    12/10/2004 02:21:00 am  
    Blogger Tony.T said...

    What I mean is that hopefully, when the guvt fucks off, Telstra will start to operate as a proper company. It's certainly got enough of a head start.

    12/12/2004 01:56:00 pm  

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