Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gas crisis, what crisis?

Since Carps captured the airwaves last night to advise us to stop burning so much gas, there have already been a few grumblings among those who feel it's their God given right to chew through our natural resources, no matter how finite they might be. To these people, the pipeline explosion may as well have taken place on Uranus for all they care...

Anyway, I'm convinced that those who flaunt the call to turn down the gas are the same people who steadfastly refuse to obey water restrictions and would defend their right to have a green lawn (and a warm house) with sawn-off shotguns, if they could only convince the powers that be that guns are good. Yes, while I'm outside hosing the leaves off my driveway, I demand the right to fire up the Rinnai space heater... and I'll leave all the lights on as well, so ner!

I'm sure that these people are a small minority, but if anyone out there really does feel aggrieved at the thought of having to layer up to beat the chill instead of hitting a switch, they should remember how the gas crisis could be so much worse. This Wikipedia extract gives you some context:

The fire at the plant was not extinguished until two days later. The Longford plant was shut down immediately, and the state of Victoria was left without its primary gas supplier. Within days, the Victorian Energy Network Corporation shut down the state's entire gas supply.

The sudden crisis was devastating to Victoria's economy, crippling industry and the commercial sector (in particular, the hospitality industry which relied on natural gas for cooking).

Natural gas is also widely used residentially in Victoria for hot water and gas heating, and Victorians endured 20 days of cold showers and chilly nights.

Gas supplies to Victoria were resumed on 14 October. Many Victorians were outraged and upset to discover only minor compensation on their next gas bill, with the average compensation figure being only around $10.

Yes, I was living in Melbourne at the time and while we Perthites do cop our early morning chills, imagine living with days on end where the temperature struggles to get beyond 12 degrees at any stage. Then try and imagine how having NO gas would affect you. And when I say no gas, I mean having your gas turned off at the meter and $5,000 fines if you get caught turning them back on.

Having no gas means no hot showers for a start, unless you have an electric hot water system. Oh joy, struggle out of bed at 5am and spend the next 30 minutes boiling the kettle non-stop to get enough hot water for a sponge bath. Those brave enough, or in desperate need of a proper hair wash, simply ran the gauntlet and endured an ice cold shower. Bracing, very bracing.

Of course, those with electric systems found their houses resembling the old Rottnest Island shower building, with people lined up, shower cap in hand.

And then there were those who gave up on bathing... I met quite a few of them on the public transport system. A fragrant bunch.

So, you can't shower, but maybe you can make up for it with a nice cooked breakfast? No, not if you're like many people who have a gas stove and oven. Suddenly every night is Lean Cuisine night. In the evenings you sit cold and slightly stinky in front of the flameless gas heater, chewing miserably on your TV dinner, watching the news for reports on those shameless parasitic scumbags who dare turn their gas back on.

A lot of children were spawned on those dark cold nights, so here's a thought! Rather than procrastinate about turning down the heating, do the wise thing and procreate instead - your country will thank you...


Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying, however can understand others points of view.

Firstly, I think it is a slight exaggeration to group people who want to stay warm when it is heading to 4 degrees at night with those who hose leaves off their driveways. There are more than 2 types of people in this world and they extend beyond earth loving power savers and "I don't care if it's not my day to water, my pool is looking empty" water wasters.

What good is turning our heaters off and conserving power when buildings in the CBD are lit up like Christmas trees 24/7, and then there's that blasted laser light at Northbridge hole The Shed which blazes into the night sky 7 days a week.

I sit in my apartment with tracksuit pants, jumper, slippers and a blanket and am still cold, as my apartment does not warm up during the day because it doesn't get any sun. So I will sit and watch my night-time soaps tonight, after having a hot shower, in the warm companionship of my heater. I think it is up to big business to help prevent this crisis from worsening, not average Joe and Jane.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Cookster.

Anon -- maybe if you thought a little more about other people and a little less about your precious self for a change, you might maybe perhaps be able to pick up a partner of the human, non-gas powered variety to keep you warm at night.

Cookster said...

Anon - there are a million reasons you could use the 'what good is me doing XXX if XXX is till doing XXX' excuse.

If we all went down that path no one would recycle, conserve water, donate to charity, etc, etc.

In fact, why should I bother eating as I'm going to end up dying one day anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone should enjoy the sense of self satisfaction of helping eachother out in this scenario.

If you have an electric blanket, put it on for a bit then just into bed. now you can watch tv in the nice warm bed only running one appliance, rather than heater, lights and the tv.

Or go riding! That will get your blood pumping!

just some food for thought.

Perth Bike Commuter

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate for the government that the Varanuschaos struck as the temperature was plummeting and unfortunate for us that we have to be resourceful.
But if this had happened in pleasantly mild autumn or spring we might not be as aware (and enraged) about the government's lack of contingencies.
We would have carried on as normal and not realised the magnitude of the stuff-up.

Anonymous said...

Nice Rotto mention, Cookster. I forget how much of the island's power is generated by the big windmill but it's a lot! Perhaps the place to be if we go like Vic and the pipes are turned off...

Cookster said...

DC, any excuse to go to Rotto is fine by me... although we don't want everyone to know... shhh... you dig the nuclear shelter and I'll organise the shotguns to keep the hoardes at bay. Thompson Bay? Ahem, as you were...