Why Allan Miller wants you to keep paying too much for power

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, April 30th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: capitalism, energy - Tags: , ,

Hot on the heels of electricity industry funded Lewis Evans publishing an op-ed about how terrible NZ Power is, another academic has popped up to claim the policy is the end of the world.

This time it’s Dr Allan Miller, whose argument is that it makes New Zealand look like a bad country to invest in and is bad economics. Which is weird because Dr Allan Miller isn’t an investment analyst, or an economist, or a specialist in regulation.

What Dr Allan Miller is, is an electrical engineer. An electrical engineer who is also the Director of the EPE Centre, an academic outfit funded by the Power Engineering Excellence Trust, a trust sponsored by – you guessed it – electricity industry players including Meridian and Mighty River Power.

Miller’s only just put out his commentary via press release, but no doubt it will find its way into the mainstream media. I wonder if they’ll also disclose who pays the bills for his research centre?

See also:
Why Lewis Evans wants you to keep paying too much for power
Why Doug Heffernan wants you to keep paying too much for power

44 comments on “Why Allan Miller wants you to keep paying too much for power”

  1. muzza 1

    This time it’s Dr Allan Miller, whose argument is that it makes New Zealand look like a bad country to invest in and is bad economics. Which is weird because Dr Allan Miller isn’t an investment analyst, or an economist, or a specialist in regulation.

    So Allan Miller is someone who has been happy to put his hand up, and contribute to the propaganda flows then?

    Sadly Allan Millers message, is exactly the same one was given by a senior exec at one of the banks, that I spoke with recently!

    Eddie – Correct, I’ve said repeatedly here, that who controls the funding, controls the people, and of course, the outputs!

    While Allan Miller, could be a willing participant, or simply another *idiot*, either way, his comments will be used has giving kudos to the attack on the NZ Power Policy.

    My opinion is that the NZP policy was floated, knowing there was no way it was ever going to get off the ground, and I see no reason why it would, such as things are rigged!

    • aerobubble 1.1

      National have routinely gone hard out onto the extremes in order to either change, even when they backtrack the results are still obnoxious, which is why they don’t care, one way or other they will win a more extreme NZ.

      Why are we so non-corrupt as a nation? could it be that our corruption is a order of magnitude bigger so the modern metrics of corruption miss them?

      Take the Governor General for example. Here is a man who ran the spy agency when mired in questions of illegitimate use of government power. Obviously if even the Governor has no stomach for perceptions of lax integrity why would we be all that surprised by Hannover finance, or the CTV building, or the minister for mines safety, or any number of corrupt practices endemic to governance.
      leaky buildings, child poverty, etc.

      We carry a risk premium not because we have a non-corrupt economy, we have an open for business and we’re suck up the damage ourselves economic corruption at the heart of our economy.

      Now for the joke, China becomes our best trading partner and Fonterra a socialized farming collective our biggest exporter. Socialism winners, Neolib losers.

      • Peter 1.1.1

        The Chinese Government becomes our biggest trading partner and influential land owner

  2. David 2

    Had to Laugh out Loud, the line between satire and reality is becoming very blurred indeed.

    • North 2.1

      Isn’t it ever David ?

      I am very satisfied with this NAct administration characterised as “Monty Pythonesque”.

      To wit, ShonKey Python himself. But for an even more insane expression of the genre just think back to Tolley. There she was provocatively astride the first ever of four crushed vee-hicles to date. Legs semi-threateningly parted, knee high leather, vicious stillettos. A picture of dominatrix slimmingly fitted in canary yellow upper garments.

      Jesus Christ ! ShonKey Python has taken New Zealand from Barnum & Baileys to Barnum and Crazies !

      And entry to a decent life gets more and more expensive and less and less attainable for more and more Kiwis.

  3. It would be one thing if the money was needed to build a whole lot of dams and windmills but we are essentially selling existing infrastructure that works fine. The investment is only so that the corporates can leverage an existing income stream.

    Makes you wonder why the state does not build generating assets more often …

  4. toad 4

    Here’s 3News running Miller’s comments, and to their credit, also running the Green Party’s response highlighting his conflict of interest.

  5. burt 5

    Interesting… See here Reaction to NZ Power where the opinions of somebody with a vested interest are quoted as valid… Guess when it comes to vested interests there a good and bad vested interests – basically the people who agree with your position and don’t… How childish partisans are….

    • IrishBill 5.1

      Can you explain how Vector has a vested interest in NZ Power as a policy?

      • burt 5.1.1

        The CEO of a regulated state monopoly endorses the establishment of a regulated state monopoly… Is it really that difficult to be objective in viewing criticism and support around this 1970’s Muldoon style policy.

        • Colonial Viper

          It’s not Muldoon style because if Muldoon were PM he wouldn’t be doing any of this now.

    • framu 5.2

      also burt, could you explain how an engineer that is paid by the big electricity generators differs from a ceo of a lines company, and what the difference might then be in terms of conflict of interest and suitablitiy to comment with authority

  6. Lanthanide 6

    Allan Miller. Possibly the last person I expected to see on here. I can’t say terribly much about my relationship to him as it would start to impinge on my anonymity, but lets just say Allan is very authoritarian and not a particularly nice person. Also the Peter Principal was in evidence with him.

    • Tim 6.1

      Yep – they keep popping up from time to time – generally hopping from one fuckup to the next.
      Not JUST rising beyond their level of competence, but also in line with the false belief that if they cost a lot, they must be good.

    • Roy 6.2

      The Peter Principle certainly seemed to be operating with whoever fitted him with that hairpiece. It’s worse than Jonkey’s!

  7. Excellent series, this is turning into an NZ version of the S.H.A.M.E. project.

    Keep these shill profiles rolling!

  8. Sosoo 8

    They’ll give anyone a PhD these days.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Alan Miller, are you aware that these “foreign investors” that you are kowtowing to from are simply handing over beads and whisky to the natives in order to set up extractive wealth pumps flowing money right back out of the country?

    Also, are you aware that Government can invest in NZ infrastructure far more cheaply and efficiently than any private sector player?

    • muzza 9.1

      I don’t expect he is aware CV – If the govt attempted to issue funds, we will be doengraded almost immediately, then our currency will take a *correction*, followed by inflation/rate rises, followed by higer taxes, etc blah blah, you know the drill.

      The banking exec I referred to further up, certainly understands the reasons why the govt will NOT issues funds. I doubt he understand the entire central banking roll up scenario, but certainly knows what will happen to NZ should begin to, *self fund*!

      Its a complete stitch up, NZ has not a snowballs chance to stop it!

    • Paul 9.2

      I am sure he is aware of this.
      I don’t think he cares. As long as he gets his 30 pieces of silver.
      Remember, according to neo-liberal doctrine, there is no such thing as society.
      He’ll only care if it affects him personally.

  10. McFlock 10

    Not just sponsored.
    The Societies Register lists “POWER ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE TRUST BOARD” trustees as being the chair of the trust and two members of the Transpower “General Management Team”.

    Incorporated since 2002, and the members seem to be engineers rather than spin-meisters, so it’s probably an industry standards body that’s been co-opted into clumsy political lobbying for the sale. Although there was a restructuring of the electricity sector around 2002, so maybe it was a frankenstein’s monster created to lobby in that period, and panic over the lab/green policy has breathed new life into it.

  11. Lightly 11

    interesting that canterbury university would allow a press release to go out in its name not revealing this serious conflict of interest. doesn’t do much for the university’s reputation.

  12. Cant remember my last username 12

    Or maybe, just maybe, all these ‘experts’ are right and the NZP policy is in-fact flawed, unworkable with many highly negative externalities to the economy….

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 12.1

      What “experts”? The “economist” Evans is utterly discredited by actual real world events: everything he’s ever advocated for has been proven wrong. Miller is an electrical engineer.

      So much for your “experts”.

      Find someone who doesn’t have a conflict of interest, eh, before your credibility is reduced to John Key levels.

    • Lightly 12.2

      maybe, but if that was the case, why is no-one saying that apart from people with a direct financial interest in preserving the status quo?

      • burt 12.2.1

        Everyone who pays a power bill has a vested interest in this 1970’s Muldoon style electoral popularity side show. The thought that our power bills can become a stealth revenue collection device is actually a major concern.

        Now some partisan dim-bulbs might not be able to see past the first term of the watermelon government that implements it but the reality is successive governments facing difficult challenges with spending other people’s money to win elections – will they keep the focus of reducing power bills or will they simply use the easiest ( quote Dr Cullen – pluck the goose with the least amount of hissing) option available to raise revenue?

        • Eddie

          don’t you think that people participating in the msm with a conflict of interest should disclose that, rather than pretending to be independent when they attempt to influence political discourse?

          • burt

            Of course they should disclose. I didn’t suggest they shouldn’t. Attempting to influence political discourse… I’m pleased you see this 1970’s Muldoon style policy as political discourse because for a while it seemed you viewed it as more than just political positioning. Given the government owns the majority of the generation and therefore sets the base price already it did seem strange that you seemed to think an extra regulatory entity was for anything more than political discourse.

            The price we pay for opposition to oppose eh… Hardly a democracy when all the opposition can do is oppose for the sake of being different and therefore hopefully popular enough to do the only thing that’s important to them – winning the election… Just like Muldoon in the 70’s.

            • Lanthanide

              “Given the government owns the majority of the generation”

              Currently. But if the asset sales all go ahead, they won’t any more.

              “and therefore sets the base price already”

              No, the “government” doesn’t, because the companies are SOEs, which are supposed to have practically no direct government interference in how they operate. So the “government” doesn’t set the base price already.

              The proposal from Labour/Greens is a way in which the government *would* set the base price, but since there are already private generators out there, and the Nats are selling off almost half of what the government did own, they clearly must come up with a regulatory system that can be applied to all of the generators, not just the SOE ones.

              It really is quite simple, if you actually think about it.

              • burt

                The CEO’s of the SOE’s deliver the return on capital ‘required’ by the government. How is that not setting the price ? The government already has the ability to discount power prices by NOT taking a return on investment… but they don’t do that do they. They take profit for other agendas. What will change simply by inserting another regulated monopoly in the chain? Will the generators not require a return on investment ? Will the single buyer/seller not be required to return a dividend on the capital required to establish it?

                • Lanthanide

                  What part of “Genesis and Contact aren’t SOEs” don’t you understand?

                • KJT

                  How can they discount privatised power company prices?

                  Up until now the price of power from SOE’s has been artificially kept high, by right wing governments, including Labour, to make the private providers look good and keep up the myth that privatised companies are as efficient as the old MOE.
                  To justify the big fuckup/fire sale that was the initial privatisations in the 80’s and 90’s.

    • McFlock 12.3


      In which case, to paraphrase Einstein and MacCleod, they would need only one.

    • lprent 12.4

      Hard to tell because to date none of these sockpuppets that I have read have actually offered any analysis that doesn’t amount to “it is not in MY interests” and vague assertions that assume that all regulation is bad. The NZ Power proposal is quite specifically targeted at the gross increases in our power prices since the industry got deregulated, while very little actual investment has happened in the industry.

      Quite simply deregulation has increased our power prices massively compared to most countries and would have to be considered a complete failure by most consumers. Many countries around the world have regulation of wholesale power prices, and guess what – they have both had lower price increases and the power companies are making good (but lower) profits.

      So maybe, just maybe, you’d like to actually argue those points rather than simply being a dick..

    • Paul 12.5

      It’s obvious you completely ignore the evidence presented by Eddie’s research that these ‘experts’ views are compromised by the sponsors and funders of their research.
      Excellent series Eddie.

  13. Jenny Kirk 13

    Good stuff, Eddie. Keep it coming !

  14. irascible 14

    Murray Ball, in his cartoon strip- BRUCE THE BARBARIAN (1973) had a great set of strips that illustrate the reaction by the press to Labour policies. One showed Bruce flicking through the newspapers after a policy statement had been issued by the Labour Party…. all the tory papers and commentators condemned so the only conclusion Bruce can reach is that the policy statement must be a beaut!!!!
    This seems to be the only conclusion one can draw from the over reaction to the NZ Power policy release here in 2013 as well. What, then, has changed?

  15. Michael 15

    How much is Miller being paid to spew out propaganda for the big boys? I think the term for him is “lackey”. Sadly, he’s not the only one, as the disease has also infected certain members of the medical profession over many years, under many governments. Something should be done.

  16. Mr Interest 16

    On the banality of evil: Sorry Poetic salience on this video but you might get the point


    I remember this simple, simple man…. he covered the fact that he was in uniform (belonged to a company)

    He was not an evil man he was a simple man……., the fact of being involved, involved in the selling of “billions” of shares, of being in charge…..

    It was always amazing to me…. uncomplainingly these millions went to their (poetic license) economic death, I mean, it’s perfectly extraordinary isn’t it……

    Their was practically never any sound, one would have thought they would have screamed or yelled…………


    I dont think they were aware enough to think in these details…………….

    RIP NZ

  17. infused 17

    “Which is weird because Dr Allan Miller isn’t an investment analyst, or an economist, or a specialist in regulation.”

    Like everyone else on this site.

    • Murray Olsen 17.1

      No infused, we are not. We are just citizens wanting a better country for those who come after us. Voicing our concerns is not yet illegal, unless you know of some retrospective legislation which Key will claim to have a mandate for.

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