Power to the people


ORGANISERS have been forced to find a bigger venue after inviting Mornington Peninsula property owners to discuss forming a community-owned power company they predict could half electricity bills within six years.

“By year six, we would be keeping around $165 million per year in the pockets of our local community for a further 20 years,” the invitation issued by Magnus Mansie of the People Power Company Mornington (PPCM) said.

This saving could grow to 75 per cent if enough people became involved.

Mr Mansie says PPCM’s proposal is to “fund, build and own together, a renewable plus storage, private electricity company to serve the needs of all ratepayers within the shire”.

The move for a privately-owned power company follows the announcement by Mornington Peninsula Shire of its “partnership” in a “community grid project” with United Energy and GreenSync “to harness the power of demand response and facilitate the uptake of new renewable energy technologies” (“Project aims to defuse power spikes” The News 23/1/2018).

Mr Mansie said PPCM had a team of “engineers with international, large-scale project design and delivery experience, national economic experience and international ethics experience”.

The company’s plan for power consumers to not be reliant on “government or corporate actions” involved building “renewable generation capacity as well as storage”.

“It is intended that Mornington Peninsula Shire ratepayers and the employees of the company will be the only owners of this new company,” Mr Mansie said.

“Our goal is to remove every ‘rent-seeker’ currently engaged in our electricity generation and supply. We will model the solutions in partnership with the only distributor on the peninsula, United Energy, and those positive discussions have already commenced.

“If you can’t have panels on your roof or don’t like the look of them, no worries, your shares may be held in panels on a solar farm, for example, but these details are yet to be finalised, after we know the interest from ratepayers.”

Mr Mansie said the more ratepayers involved with PPCM “the bigger the savings and efficiencies”.

“To become a local generator and retailer, provides the biggest efficiencies and to achieve that, the community buy-in must be strong and after this week’s response, we are hopeful that will continue,” he said after announcing it had been necessary to call a halt to acceptances for the company’s first public meeting at Shoreham on Friday 2 February.

The invitation was sent out through to those on the community group Peninsula Speaks’ email list.

“Please consider coming along to hear and then discuss this exciting proposal that enables us to solve our electricity crisis ourselves, for the lowest costs and in the most efficient manner, in the interests of all,” the invitation stated.

The response was so great that the meeting venue was moved from the CFA station at Shoreham to a church, but that too was filled within days.

However, Mornington Peninsula Shire ratepayers can register their interest for the next community meeting or to receive further details at www.morningtonpower.com.au

First published in the Western Port News – 23 January 2018


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