Monthly Archives: January 2019

Peak performance

Illustration: Robin Cowcher.As the summer begins to sizzle and you reach for your air conditioner’s remote, there’s something you need to know.
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A big chunk of rising energy prices is caused by surging demand on the hottest few days of the year.

In its report on electricity regulation, the Productivity Commission states that just 40 hours of peak use during the year account for a quarter of our bills.

”We invest in the capacity of the network – the poles and wires – so we’re able to turn on the air conditioning when it’s incredibly hot,” says Dr Lynne Chester, from University of Sydney. ”But it’s used for a very small proportion of time.”

In the past few years, our overall demand for electricity has fallen, but the peak level continues to rise.

The reason? Air conditioning has gone through the roof. By 2020, it is forecast to double from 2000 levels.

The Productivity Commission attributes the change to rising incomes, cheaper air conditioners, bigger new homes and the trend to install more than one unit, ”particularly by higher income households”.

It’s an equity concern too: because everyone pays higher network costs, people who don’t use air conditioners at peak times are subsidising those who do.

But Dr Chester says there’s a broader problem. ”As our lifestyles change, we’ve taken things like water and electricity for granted. It’s there whenever we turn on the tap and the switch.”

If we’re to avoid excess investment in the network – and the inevitable higher prices – we need to reduce peak demand first. And that means a shift away from a ”predict and provide” approach to electricity, to something more complex.

Householders can expect a more active role in the way we manage energy production.

Smart meters allow electricity retailers to charge more when demand is high. ”Time-of-use pricing means that when demand goes up, the price will go up,” Dr Chester says. ”The most expensive time will be late in the afternoon, when the kids are home, the TV is on and you’re preparing dinner – that’s when the daily peak is occurring.”

That’s the stick approach, but there’ll be carrots too. Some retailers will alert you in advance of a critical peak, and offer discounts or incentives for switching off, if you can.

In South Australia, distributor SA Power Networks has been trialling ”direct load control”, which takes the day-to-day decision out of customers’ hands. If residents agree – in exchange for $100 – they install a widget on their air conditioner and, at critical times, remotely switch off the compressor (but not the fan) for about ten minutes every half hour.

The results are significant: among participants, they’ve been able to reduce peak demand by more than one-third without people noticing any loss of comfort. To make a dent in the overall spike, however, they would need residents to sign on in large numbers.

Dr Chester says the problem will keep growing, unless our consumption habits change. For that, we need different norms and different buildings.

”We’re treating the symptom and not the cause,” she says. ”We don’t build houses with eaves and verandahs, or design them for natural breezes. We’re turning on air conditioning instead.

”We’ve got to improve the efficiency of existing stock. We could start by retrofitting public housing; what better way to help low-income households improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills?”


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


‘I’m learning about how capable I am’

Kate Waterhouse with Cathy Freeman.Olympic legend Cathy Freeman will always be best known for winning the women’s 400 metres at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The athlete has moved on to motherhood with her 17-month-old daughter, Ruby. Kate Waterhouse chats with the 39-year-old about fitness, her fans and about having a child.
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Are you enjoying motherhood?

It’s challenging, but it’s a joy. I love being with my girl and I love how she affects my husband. I love how she makes people happy. She is an amazing little thing.

Is it everything that you thought it would be?

It’s more than I ever thought was possible, actually. I think it’s because whilst it’s demanding, challenging and you have to be organised, you also have to be quite self-aware. For example, when you know you need to rest, you lean on people, you have to really act on it and really be aware of your fatigue levels and your inner health. I really love how I’m learning about how capable I am.

Is your husband a hands-on father?

He’s wonderful. Mind you, I prefer to take control and do everything to the point where it allows him to step in when I actually need him to. I’m really happy being more hands-on than him, but he’s a fantastic dad, too; he enjoys being a dad, he loves our little girl and he’ll always be there if I need him. If I’m ever away or unwell, he’ll do everything.

How did your role as blogger and ambassador for the Coles Baby and Toddler Club come about?

Well, I had a previous association with Coles, and this seemed to be a natural shift with my little girl. The arrival of her and the growth of me personally, becoming a mother, seemed to just be an opportunity that came out of my personal circumstance.

Will you encourage your daughter to follow in your footsteps?

I will encourage my daughter to be true to herself; hopefully I’m setting that example really well for her. In terms of following my footsteps in that regard, yes.

Is fitness still a big part of your life?

Yes, it really is. I was over in New York a few weeks ago with the intent of running my first marathon. Unfortunately, it was cancelled but now we’re aiming for another marathon early next year, so you have to be fit.

A marathon is a big commitment, especially soon after having a child.

I think I needed to have that kind of goal because that’s how I’m precoded anyway in my previous life, and it’s what I’m so familiar with.

Do you still maintain a strict diet, similar to when you were competing, or are you more relaxed now?

I’m definitely a lot more relaxed because the stakes are different. I tend to enjoy more food now, although I do prefer not to eat a lot of bread. I have to watch my sugar intake because I have diabetes, so I think my sugar intake has definitely been monitored daily.

Do you get recognised everywhere you go?

In Australia, yes.

Do you still get a lot of fan mail?

[Yes.] It means a lot to me because I have been retired for [about nine years] and folks are still wanting photographs from my running days … It’s good for my ego [laughs].

What is the most frequent request from fans?

Autographs mainly, but sometimes a serious sports fan would ask for an action shot of when I’m in competition. Sometimes it’s a lovely letter from a 12-year-old, or sometimes I get a letter from an elderly person just wanting to share their wisdom with me.

It’s fantastic that after all these years, people have so much admiration for you.

I think it was just one of those times in our lives where it had such a unifying effect. When our sporting champions win, especially on their own turf, it’s very memorable, and people like to revisit that memory.

Do you still have that competitive spirit?

I do for things I’m passionate about, like seeing results achieved for my Cathy Freeman Foundation, but in terms of me personally, no I’m not competitive at all.

Do you hope to have a big family?

I’m enjoying our family unit as it is at the moment. I’m pretty content. Ruby, James and I are just one happy little family.

WE WENT TO The Grounds of Alexandria.

WE ATE Za’atar on toast with avocado, Persian fetta and heirloom tomatoes; slow-cooked lamb with yoghurt, chickpeas, roast pumpkin and sherry vinaigrette.

WE DRANK Mineral water and ginger beer with fresh garden mint.

CATHY WORE Zara pants and Tommy Hilfiger blouse.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Will Max ‘The Axe’ fall over royal prank?

From respected senior public servant to Sleazemaster-General, Max ”The Axe” Moore-Wilton has fallen a long way.
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In public service, Moore-Wilton climbed to the very top, becoming department head to prime minister John Howard in 1996.

These days the Companion of the Order of Australia plies his trade in the private sector, where he is chairman of both Sydney Airport and moral-free broadcaster Southern Cross Media Group, aka Southern Cross Austereo.

Moore-Wilton is paid $250,000 a year to lend his respectability to the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Southern Cross, and it is he, and the rest of the board, who shareholders should hold ultimately responsible for the latest debacle enveloping the company.

He has been chairman since 2007 and, during his tenure, the company has perpetrated a series of outrages, most of them emanating from the Sydney studios of flagship station 2Day FM.

Remember the merry jape when ”Vile” Kyle Sandilands and his equally culpable enabler, Jackie O, hooked up a teenage rape victim to a lie detector? Or how about the hilarious time, just a few months ago, when Kyle called a female journalist a ”fat slag” and promised to ”hunt her down”?

In the latest stunt-gone-wrong, Southern Cross has suspended all ads from 2Day FM following the suspected suicide of a British nurse who was collateral damage in a prank call targeting the royal family.

While the two DJs who made the call aren’t completely free from blame, the real problem is that Southern Cross has a business model that involves teetering on the edge of a moral abyss.

Each so-called ”prank” may carry only a small risk, but their number makes eventual disaster all but inevitable.

And yet, somehow, its management seems surprised each and every time it falls in the muck. Witness the bleating from $1.3 million-a-year chief executive Rhys Holleran on Saturday that the company was ”confident we haven’t done anything illegal” and acted in accordance with its internal procedures. So that’s okay then.

Atop this structure sit Moore-Wilton and a board of worthies – former Freehills partner Leon Pasternak, former regulator Chris de Boer, media veteran Tony Bell, former head of Macquarie Capital Michael Carapiet, adman Peter Harvie and Mirvac director Marina Darling – who, in return for their wisdom, are each entitled to a minimum of $125,000 a year.

When CBD called, Moore-Wilton deflected the blame in Holleran’s direction.

”The chief executive officer is responsible for the operations of the organisation within the framework that the board broadly sets,” he said.

And he insisted that the company had taken action over previous incidents.

No doubt, but with 2Day’s license already subject to conditions, advertisers in retreat and Scotland Yard detectives investigating the death, clearly more needs to be done.

On Sunday night, the board was holding an emergency meeting to consider its next move.

While Moore-Wilton has so far failed to rein in the company’s rancid culture, there remains one productive step he could take immediately: resign.

Don’t hold your breath.

Hot tip on hot air

Think of it as a bottom-of-the-harbour scheme James Packer would be happy to embrace.

The gambling tycoon has been lobbying hard for approval to build a luxury casino at Barangaroo, a prime slice of Sydney being developed by Lend Lease.

Lend Lease, which won the tender on a promise to make Barangaroo a model of sustainability, is nearing a decision on a key component of its deep-green credentials: a centralised cooling plant using seawater from Sydney Harbour.

The hot tip is Dalkia, the energy services unit of French giant Veolia Environment, will emerge with a major contract from Lend Lease.

A win for Dalkia may give it an edge on rivals such as Origin Energy, which is just dipping its toes into the potentially big business of heating and cooling whole districts rather than single buildings.

Strike one

Bloodied but unbowed, the board of media and mining minnow Motopia survived an attempted putsch by major shareholder Wendy Symes last week, though it did suffer a strike against its remuneration report and couldn’t get the 75 per cent needed to allow it to issue new scrip. However, a return bout is inevitable: following the meeting, the company acknowledged as legitimate a request for an EGM that Symes lodged last month.

Motopia will lodge a notice of meeting with the exchange on Monday.

Numbers game

A slice of white collar criminal history is up for grabs in Melbourne. While it’s not in quite the same bloody league as one of the Carlton locations, where various dastardly deeds went down during the gangland wars, the cute little city venue has its own story to tell. It belonged to an accountant with the Pratt family’s Visy Board who was accused of stealing more than $3.3 million from the company.

The Victorian Supreme Court froze the property, in Little Lonsdale Street, early this year. The building is leased to hipster eateries, together bringing in rent of more than $150,000 a year.

Auctioneers Gross Waddell put it under the hammer on Wednesday at noon.

Got a tip? [email protected]上海夜网

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »


Daily horoscopes: Monday, December 10

Read Fairfax Regional astrologer, Alison Moroney’s daily stars for Monday, December 10 2012.ARIES: Influences emanating from the home and family tend to arouse strong emotions during December 10-12, leaving Arian people feeling unsettled and questioning life.
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TAURUS: Life is an adventure during December 10-12 and you’ll enjoy sharing it with someone close. As with all adventures, some turn out to be better experiences than others.

GEMINI: The rhythmic influences operating in your work sphere will be comforting during December 10-12, even if for no other reason than providing you with the comfort of an income.

CANCER: December 10-12 connect you deeply with people you love, arousing your protective instincts. Children figure strongly in the equation then. Lucky conditions also prevail.

LEO: Domestic disturbances are likely to cause some disquiet during December 10-12. You’ll simply want some time alone to figure out the best way of handling a situation.

VIRGO: Virgoan minds are ticking over rapidly during December 10-12 as they determine the best way to do things, whether it’s managing daily routines or setting a goal.

LIBRA: Money flows rapidly during December 10-12, making this a great time for shopping and pay negotiations. You learn a few tricks along the way, adding to your wealth of experience.

SCORPIO: The depth of your emotions is strongly evident during December 10-12, powering the effective delivery of words and plans: augurs well for education and travel.

SAGITTARIUS: December 10-12 are a few days when you’ll simply want to get away from the mainstream of life: you simply don’t like showing deep emotions in public.

CAPRICORN: There are plenty of fun activities to fill your life during December 10-12, all in the company of people you like. This is a good time for social networking.

AQUARIUS: The power of Aquarian emotions drives their lives in each one’s chosen direction during December 10-12, strongly supplemented by a willingness and desire to work.

PISCES: The richness of life will be experienced through people and events that bring you love and good fortune during December 10-12. Emotions run deep then.

LUCKY NUMBERS: Aries: 1, 3, 4, 9; Taurus: 5, 8; Gemini: 6, 7; Cancer: 3, 4, 7, 9; Leo: 1, 3, 4, 9; Virgo: 6, 8; Libra: 5, 7; Scorpio: 2, 3, 7, 9; Sagittarius: 1, 3, 4, 9; Capricorn: 5, 6; Aquarius: 5, 6; Pisces: 2, 4, 7.

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Everybody loves a bargain on the internet

What are the best ways to boost sales over the internet?
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We find that the best way to increase sales is by offering an unbeatable deal. Nothing accelerates growth faster than placing a great deal on the site and letting our members talk about it.

Everybody loves a bargain, and the internet has made it even easier for shoppers to search, compare and discuss products with their friends online.

For retailers this means they need to develop a deep understanding of what their customers want, and then build their capabilities around product sourcing and procurement.

What are the most important things to consider when planning an online event such as a flash sale?

Click Frenzy in November succeeded in generating an unprecedented amount of publicity for the event. Unfortunately, the organisers underestimated the demand and the servers couldn’t cope.

Before any major online sales event, work closely with your IT team, hosting and other technology providers to ensure all parties are prepared for a spike in demand. Where Click Frenzy fell down was that its traffic estimates were based on a total number of visitors to the site for the duration of the sales period. While traffic may be strong for the full period, nothing beats the first 30 minutes when your site is bombarded with eager deal hunters. Stress test your site pre-sale.

You also need to ensure all areas of your business are ready for the spike in demand. Have you briefed your customer service and warehouse and delivery teams? Do you have extra staff on board?

The most important ingredient for a successful flash sale is getting your offers to convert into sales.

How do I support such a sales event? How can I use social media to promote it?

At CatchOfTheday we rely mainly on word of mouth and repeat purchasers. Social media are often referred to as ”word of mouth on steroids”, and they work well in a flash sale scenario. We find there’s no better way to promote a sale than to put a great deal on your site and let your customers talk about it.

During major flash sale events such as Click Frenzy and Cyber Monday, shoppers are actively hunting for promotions and interesting gifts on social platforms.

Tap into the buzz around these events, by using relevant hashtags such as #clickfrenzy, #festivedeals, or run complementary themed promotions, competitions or first looks offering eager participants a chance to win, or get a head start on the deals that are up for grabs.

Whether you are running a big sales event, or taking part in one, use the opportunity to make a favourable brand impression.

Gabby Leibovich founded daily deals websites CatchOfTheDay, Scoopon and Grocery Run. To watch a video with Gabby click here.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »