Pure Poison IconAs expected, today’s Sunday Telegraph runs with a beatup about electricity prices in NSW.

But it’s actually a somewhat confusing one.

To see how absurd it is, before looking at the main story, let’s have a look at the paper’s editorial position on the issue (my bolding):

The reality is, as outlined by Mr Sims, that a combination of unwieldy green schemes and an over-emphasis on avoiding blackouts at all costs has blown energy bills out of all proportion

Of course we want a steady, reliable power supply. A blackout is an infuriating inconvenience. But is it worth seeing your bill doubled to eliminate one or two blackouts a year?

The power infrastructure has been upgraded, and upgraded again, over the past few years as companies improve their “poles and wires”.

Mr Sims sees this as unnecessary, while sceptical consumers suspect much of this work is being carried out to make the companies look better to potential buyers.

Okay, so the action to prevent blackouts isn’t, in the view of the Sunday Telegraph, worth the extra costs.

Which makes the headline they ran with rather odd:


Alternative headline: SUNDAY TELEGRAPH ADVOCATES FOR BLACKOUTS IT WHINGES ABOUT ON FRONT PAGE

So if electricity prices increase because of upgrading infrastructure to avoid blackouts, then it’s not worth it. And if the action to avoid blackouts is halted to decrease electricity prices, then it’s THE DARK AGES.

Well, they don’t know what they want, but they do know that whatever happens it’s something we should all be furious about. Particularly when it’s something strongly related in voters’ minds with the “carbon tax”, even though that has nothing to do with it…

Oh, and if you were anxiously waiting to see the “gorgeous” family “outraged” about “skyrocketing” electricity prices sought by their ad, meet the Guildord family:

The 30-year-old single mother-of-six cried when her latest electricity bill dropped through the letter box.

“I’d never had a bill more than $320 but the last one was $1400,” she said. “It is such a big difference. I was like ‘you can’t be serious’! I did a double take and then just cried.”

That does sound extraordinary. I wonder how much of that increase was due to increased prices, and how much was due to increased usage. I don’t know, because that critical detail is not in the story. If Helen Pow did do her job and did find that out, and then included it in her original copy, then what legitimate reason would the subeditors have for excluding it? Space considerations? On the internet?

In either case, without that detail the complaint is completely meaningless and impossible for a sensible reader to evaluate on its merits. The only way to accept the overall attack in that story is for the reader to switch off his or her critical faculties and just go mindlessly with the flow.

Actually, if you do that, I suspect reading The Sunday Telegraph is much more enjoyable in general.

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