Geoff Bertram will analyse prospects for the proposed single-buyer model for electricity on Tuesday 11 February in Wellington. Bertram has previously set out his views on excessive power prices rise for consumers to the Fabian Society and elsewhere. They are also covered in his chapter in the book Electricity Market Reform: an international perspective presented to an international forum in Germany last year.
This prompted the Government’s Electricity Authority to produce a report last week attacking Bertram’s analysis. Yesterday at a press conference the Authority’s Chief Executive Carl Hansen went further and resorted to a very personal attack on Geoff Bertram. Today’s DomPost reports (not on-line):
Bertram had claimed last year that power ‘consumers had been rorted for a long time’ and that ‘real prices’ for power had doubled since 1985. Last week the Authority issued its own research which it claimed to debunk Bertram’s claims.
At the press conference Hansen went on to attack media commentators, singling out Bertram. ‘He isn’t a very careful analyst. He is often portrayed in the media as a professor. He was never a professor and he was never an economist. He was a geographer. I think it [Bertram's research] is showing his lack of technical ability.’
When they go personal it shows they are losing it (and the argument). Geoff Bertram is certainly an economist – he has a D.Phil in economics from Oxford University and taught economics at Victoria for 35 years. The chapter which provoked the Electricity Authority was presented to an international forum in Germany last year.
The Authority’s report has also come under one of the most scathing analyses I have seen from the experienced business journalist Tim Hunter in his Chalkie column earlier in the week. Hunter called the Authority’s report “clever fallacious and deceptive – in other words sophistry”, and went on to say
” Chalkie reckons what we have here is an attempt to justify the huge price rises for households in a politically led effort to discredit the Labour/Green policy. But the upshot is that the authority has discredited itself.
Which makes Geoff’s Fabian presentation on the single buyer policy idea all the more timely. All are welcome to attend – if you would like to come please register here.