Latest in an occasional series of articles about food issues of concern to consumers from CASA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood.

‘Protein Glue’ processing  aids could trigger coeliac disease, say UK researchers. 

A bacterial enzyme used to improve food quality and extend a product’s shelf life in processed foods may be a cause of coeliac disease, says report.

Microbial transglutaminase is a processing aid used in the industrial manufacture of meat, dairy, and baked products. According to a recent review published in Frontiers in Paediatrics,the bacterial enzyme could be a trigger of paediatric coeliac disease. “Microbial transglutaminase  can glue together proteins, so it is used to improve food texture, palatability and shelf life,” explained co-author Aaron Lerner in a statement. The enzyme functions like the endogenous tissue transglutaminse - an “undisputable” key trigger in coeliac disease initiation and development.

While transglutaminase is produced naturally by our own gut microbes, the scale of the bacterial enzyme used in processed foods can affect the body’s response, Lerner explained. Our own transglutaminase has a different structure to the microbial sort, which allows its activity to be tightly controlled. Lerner highlighted that more research is required before definite links can be made between the enzyme and paediatric disease. This raises an interesting question regarding processing aids and labelling protocol in Europe:  Under EU law, food manufacturers are not required to list processing aids such as microbial transglutaminase, on food labels.

 Source: Frontiers in Pediatrics, published online: 3 January, 2019

‘Microbial Transglutaminase is immunogenic and Potentially Pathogenic in Pediatric Celiac Disease’

DOI: https://doio.org/10.3389/fped.2018.00389

Authors: Matthias Torsten, Aaron Lerner

 Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article2019/01/07

Author: Flora Southey

Credit: 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

‘Purposeful packaging’:  Mineral coating keeps food fresh and reduces waste.

Coating the packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables with a blend of minerals and clay can extend the shelf life by up to two to four days and reduce food waste, says UK company, It’s Fresh!

The additive, called Infinite, works by absorbing the natural ripening hormone, ethylene. It’s Fresh spent around four years developing the active ingredient - a proprietary blend of minerals and clay - while the ‘Infinite film’ delivery system took a further 3 years.  The active ingredient can be printed directly on to existing packaging for fruit, vegetables and flowers.  The coating is more efficient than other methods currently used because it is non-invasive and can be used in packs of ‘naked’; untreated or uncoated fruit, said It’s Fresh!, a division of chemical supplier Food Freshness Technology Holdings.  ‘It is genuinely trying to reduce food wastage and which will, in turn, reduce the amount of packaging needed coverall as the produce lasts longer’,  co-founder, Simon Lee said.  Packaging for fruit and vegetables tends to be plastic but Infinite active can be added to other substrates such as carton, paper, board and plastic substitutes.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/12

Author: Niamh Michail

Credit: 2018- William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Processed meat under fire over nitrate cancer risk

A coalition of scientists, medical professionals and politicians in the UK have called for nitrates to be removed from processed meats, insisting that consumption off the additives can be linked got the development of bowel cancer.  Leading the call are Queen’s University Belfast’s Professor Chris Elliot, who headed up the government’s horsemeat inquiry, and NHS consultant cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra. ‘There is a consensus of scientific opinion that nitrites in processed meats result in the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines - and therefore an increase cancer risk for those who regularly consume traditional bacon and ham’, the statement read. 

Sodium and potassium salts of nitrite and nitrate (E249-252) are used by food manufacturers as preservatives and colour fixing agents in meat products, and to prevent bacterial infections such as Clostridium Botulinum.  In 2015 the World Health Organisation published data linking processed meat consumption to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide each year. The Who suggested that nitrites and nitrosamines are a likely cause.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com.article/2019/01/03

Author: Katy Askew

Credit: 2019 - William Reed Business Media Pty.

Review finds no ‘compelling evidence’ to suggest  non-sugar sweetener health benefits.

Studies investigating the potential health benefits of non-sugar sweeteners have failed to reveal ‘compelling’ evidence linking the product with weight loss and improved health, say European researchers. Toews et al’s systematic review, published in the British Medical Journal today (January 3) analyses 56 reports comparing  o intake, or lower intake, of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS), with elevated co summation in both healthy adults and children. Weight, glycemic control, cancer, kidney disease, mood and behaviour were among the measures assessed.

‘There was no compelling evidence to indicate important health benefits of non-sugar sweetener use on a range of health outcomes,’ wrote the authors, adding that ‘potential harms from the consumption of non-sitar sweeteners could not be excluded.’

The Calorie Control Council and the International Sweeteners Association have discounted the review , the latter citing the review having ‘serious limitations’.

 Source: British Medical Journal published online 3 January 2019.

 ‘Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and observational studies’    

DOI:http//:doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4718

Authors: Ingrid Toews, Szimonetta Lohner, Daniela Kullenberg de Gaudry, Harriet Sommer, Joerg J Meerpohl.

Source: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/01/03 

Author: Flora Southey

Credit:  2019 William Reed Business Media Pty. 

 Note:  Please check references for full articles.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd — Bronchi-cough Pill (Qiguanyan Kesou Tanchuanwan)

9 Jan 2019

Product description

Listed herbal product used for the relief of bronchial cough.

Batch Number: 4080015
Expiry: 31/03/2019
(300 pills per bottle)

Batch Number: 16080020
Expiry: 30/06/2021
(300 pills per bottle)

Identifying features

Use by date: 30 June 2021

What are the defects?

Traces of both Aristolochic Acid and Amygdalin have been found in one batch and only Amygdalin being found in another.

This issue does not affect any other batches of Bronchi-cough Pills (Qiguanyan Kesou Tanchuanwan) or any other products supplied by Beijing Tong Ren Tang.

What are the hazards?

Aristolochic Acid has been linked to serious adverse effects related to kidney function. Ingestion even in small amounts may be harmful.

Consumers who are concerned about the use of this product should seek medical attention.

What should consumers do?

Affected consumers should cease use of the product immediately and return the pills to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers can also phone Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd customer service line on 1300 287 828 to arrange the return of the affected products for a full refund.

Consumers should seek medical assistance should they have any concerns in relation to the pills.

Supplier

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Various independent pharmacies and herbal medicine stores

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Dates available for sale

  • 6 December 2016- 27 August 2018

  • 8 September 2014- 11 April 2017

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

 On Monday 17 December in Adelaide, Solar Citizens launched a report entitled ‘Australia’s Rooftop RealEstate.’  In this document it is claimed that Australia is a world-leader in the residential uptake of solar PV - but across the country we’ve only just begun tapping into the extraordinary potential for rooftop solar.

 The report was commissioned by Solar Citizens and depicts the progress that Australian households have made towards re-powering our nation with clean, affordable solar.

The report states that at present the capacity of residential PV currently installed is 6 GW but the potential of residential PV capacity is from 43- 61GW. In other words we have utilised less than 1/6 of our available residential rooftop real estate. This is because close to 80% of stand-alone houses are yet to get PV. ’Considering Australia’s largest coal-fired power station is 2.88GW, the findings of this report demonstrate the capacity that rooftop solar has to transform our energy system’ claims the Report.

 Some statistics from the report show:-

  •             21.6% of all stand-alone houses in Australia now have a PV system installed.

  •             residential PV accounts for 61% of installed PV capacity in Australia.

  •             electricity generated from distributed PV grew 33% year-on-year over the last ten years 

  •             the distributed PV saved the equivalent 7.4 millions tonnes of carbon dioxide from                     

    being produced by Australia’s electricity sector in just one year

  •             in the year to August 2018, distributed solar generated approximately 3% of Australia’s 

    total energy consumption.

 Further statistics show some individual local government areas with the percentage of households with solar PV.  Of interest to South Australians are the following Local Government areas:

  • Mallala - 47.4%

  • Light     - 42.5%

  • Alexandrina - 42.3%

  • Orroroo/Carrieton - 41.9%

  • Barossa - 41.8%

 The report acknowledges that there are barriers that block renters, people living in apartments and low-income households from accessing the cost and environmental benefits of rooftop PV and suggest that these barriers need to be broken down.

In view of the above, Solar Citizens have made the following policy recommendations:-

 1.         directly fund the the installation of solar on public and community housing stock

2.         provide rebates as well as no-interest loans to support low-income and vulnerable

            households access solar

3.         implement schemes that incentivise solar on rental properties and enable landlords

            and tenants to split the benefits

4.         offer small grants, rebates, low-interest or no-interest loans to body corporates

            to allow for the installation of solar PV on apartment blocks

5.         reduce unnecessary administrative and regulatory barriers to apartment residents

            sharing solar energy through embedded networks.

6.         reform electricity network tariffs to enable households to sell their excess solar generation

            to their neighbours

7.         support solar gardens for people whose rooftops can’t host a panel itself.   

 The report concludes that across Australia, various government programs are helping more households and businesses relieve their electricity bill stress with solar PV.

From Victoria’s Solar Homes program to Queensland’s initiative to provide no-interest loans for houses wanting to go solar, there is work being done to keep rolling out rooftop solar. But with so much sunny rooftop real estate left untapped, there are abundant opportunities left for all levels of government to smash through the roadblocks that are stopping households from producing their own sun-power.

The full report is publicly available from www.solarcitizens.org.auand shows the research behind the report.

Elaine Attwood 

21/12/18

 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Lao Gan Ma Chilli Oil 280g, 275g, 210g

4 January 2019

Product description

Lao Gan Ma Chilli Oil 280g, 275g, 210g

Batch 19062018 with best before 181219,
Batch 19072018 with best before 1182018,
Batch 25042018 with best before 24062019

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (peanut).

What are the hazards?

Any consumers who have a peanut allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers who have a peanut allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information please contact Kambow Wholesaler Pty Ltd on 03 9768 2068.

Supplier

Kambow Wholesaler Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Asian supermarkets

Where the product was sold

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in a regular series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.

Foodbank Australia CEO: Achieving UN goals a pipe dream amid “shameful” food waste and security woes.

 Australia has a multi – million food waste problem, alongside massive simultaneous food insecurity and hunger issues, meaning it is a long way off meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals the CEO of Foodbank Australia has told us. (Food Navigator)

 Brianna Casey said it was shameful that the country had an A$ 20 billion food waste problem at the same time that one in five Australian children had experienced food insecurity, said Casey. Food insecurity, defined by the United Nations as “a situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life”, is surprisingly common in Australia. “Put in simple terms, it is not having the means by which to regularly and routinely put a meal on the table, or experiencing uncertainty about where your next meal might be coming from,” explained Casey. The 2017 Foodbank Hunger Report found that 3.6 million Australians experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months (and) Foodbank’s Rumbling Tummies report (..) found that more than one in five Australian children have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This makes food insecurity one of the most significant social policy challenges facing Australian communities today,” she added.

According to Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy $A20b is lost to the Australian economy through food waste, with problems occurring all the way along the supply chain. This starts from the farm where up to 25% of all vegetables produced never making it off the premises, all through to households with 3.1 million tonnes of edible food disposed of yearly. “Australia produces enough food for at least 60 million people, so the issue is not so much that there is not enough food, but that the food isn’t getting to the right places in the right time to avoid waste and help address food insecurity,” said Casey.

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/10/23

Author: Pearl Neo

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.

 

Several shortcomings or a solid start? Academics and industry disagree over Health Star Rating for Aussie beverages.

 A recent Australian study has identified the selective and partial uptake of the voluntary Health Star Rating (HSR) system for beverages as ‘shortcomings’, a finding that has received short shrift from the nation’s beverage sector.  The University of Adelaide study was conducted via a survey on the labels of 762 ready to drink (RTD) beverages of no more than 600 ml in volume, which were nondairy and non-alcoholic. Samples were collected from 17 Australian supermarkets in 2016, and the presence of the HSR star rating icon and/or energy only icon was measured. It was found that the HSR was used for only 35.3% of all beverages surveyed. Within these, only 6.8% displayed a star rating icon, and these were almost all five stars (94.2%) or 4.5 stars (5.8%) the majority of these drinks were found to be 100% juices (85.7%), despite the fact that had high or very high sugar content.

Under the Australian and New Zealand scheme, fruit juices can also be eligible to receive a five star rating, which is a shortcoming of the scheme. It was particularly concerning to find that the five-star rating is being used on juices high or very high in sugar.”  The HSR system is not compulsory in Australia as of yet, as system allows for beverages to display just the energy only icon, without displaying the star rating icon. Author Brownbill suggests that the current scoring - which allows juices high in sugar to score 5 stars - may work to mislead consumers. The five-star rating should be reserved only for water.” However the Australian Beverages Council is standing steadfastly behind the HSR’s current implementation and does not appear to agree with Brownbill’s findings. 

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/10/16

Author: Peary Neo

Credit: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Health Star Ratings: Whats on the labels of Australian beverages?

Authors: Brownbill, A L. et al

https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.197

Health promotion Journal of Australia 

 

ScanUp: The app that tells consumers if food is ‘ultra-processed’ and helps manufacturers reformulate.

 The developers of ScanUp, a French app that allows consumers to scan food products and see just how “processed” or “ultra processed” they are, are working with manufacturers to develop single products that score more highly. Founded by business strategist Camille Pechery and IT engineer Adrien Dumitresco, ScanUp is a free to use, consumer facing app that provides information on the degree of food processing and healthiness of a product, awarding a score ranging from “unprocessed” to “ultra processed”. The duo launched the app in 2017 so that consumers could“make the right food choices”. One year later, ScanUp launched a second service – a platform between consumers and brands so that consumers can find the unprocessed products they are looking for. ScanUp’s database currently has around 450,000 products listed with 70,000 active users. According to the co-founder the main goal of ScanUp is to encourage healthy reformulation. “We want to bring transparency to consumers on the degree of processing of products to enable them to choose the products of better quality. In parallel, we strongly encourage manufacturers to reformulate their products and we support them in this strategy.”

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/04

Author: Niamh Michail

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd

 

Nestlé to create Institute of Packaging Sciences to tackle global waste problem.

 Nestlé says is going to address the growing packaging waste problem by creating a Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Institute will employ about 50 people and include a laboratory and facilities for rapid prototyping, with a focus on the “discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging”.

 It says it will research recyclable, biodegradable and compostable polymers, functional paper, new packaging concepts and technologies to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging, which will be tested in different product categories before rolling out across its global portfolio. The Institute will be operational mid-2019. It will discover and examine new packaging materials in terms of safety, environmental impact and functionality, in close collaboration with other parts of Nestlé research, e.g. in the field of safety and analytics. It will work closely with academic partners, start-ups and suppliers. New materials will then be tested and applied across categories at Nestlé’s Product Technology Centres (around 30 worldwide), before rolling them out commercially,’a Nestlé spokesman said.

Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/06

Author: Jenny Eagle

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business media Ltd.

NOTE:  For the full transcript of these articles please refer to the references provided.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Aldi Stores — Colway Real Mayonnaise 466g

6 Dec 2018

Product description

Colway Real Mayonnaise 466g
All Best Before dates are affected by this recall

Identifying features

SKU Barcodes 26212425 or 4088700023709

What are the defects?

The recall is due to faulty packaging and potential for glass breakage.

What are the hazards?

Faulty packaging could cause injury or result in glass contamination.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full cash refund. 

For further information, contact ALDI Food Recall Hotline on 1800 709 993.

Supplier

Aldi Stores

Traders who sold this product

All ALDI Stores in Australia

Patties Foods Ltd — Nanna's Family Apple Pie 600g

6 Dec 2018

Product description

Nanna's Family Apple Pie 600g

Best Before dates 21/10/2020 and 22/10/2020

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the potential presence of glass in an ingredient used in the 600g Nanna's Family Apple Pie. This is a result of an equipment failure with the supplier. No other Nanna's products are affected by this recall.

What are the hazards?

Food products containing glass may cause injury if consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information contact 1800 650 069 or info@patties.com.au

Supplier

Patties Foods Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Coles
Woolworths
IGA
Franklins
Independent stores

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Dates available for sale

1 November 2018 - 27 November 2018

Charlesworth Nuts — Various Products with Dried Apricot as an Ingredient

5 Dec 2018

Product description

The following products are affected by this recall:

Diced Dried Apricots 500g
Best Before 10 June 2019 and 15 July 2019

Almond 'n' Apricot Cluster 500g
Best Before 10 June 2019

White Apricot 'n' Honey Peanut Cluster 500g
Best Before 15 July 2019

Cluster Collection 500g bag
Best Before 10 June 2019

Grandma Charlesworth's Christmas Cake 1605g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Jolly Little Puddin' Muffins 740g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Santa's Favourite Pudding 740g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Cluster Collection (gift pack) 430g
Best Before 02 June 2019

The Trendy Gourmet 1220g
Best Before 02 April 2019

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of foreign matter (metal fragments).

What are the hazards?

Food products containing metal fragments may cause injury if consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat these products and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

For further information, consumers should contact Charlesworth Nuts on (08) 8296 8366.

Supplier

Charlesworth Nuts

Traders who sold this product

Charlesworth Nuts online store and retail stores, independent retailers, wineries and cafes in South Australia and Victoria.

Where the product was sold

Nationally



Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today issued a press release warning people to be careful about being caught out by holiday season scams. The release reads:

“Scammers will take advantage of special days or major events like Christmas to fleece people of their money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Here are three common holiday season scams people should look out for:

Online shopping scams: scammers will set up fake online stores or post goods for sale in buy‑swap-sell groups or online classified sites to trick people into buying items that don’t exist. This scam has cost Australians nearly $3 million in 2018, with more than 8,700 reports.Travel scams: scammers trick people into believing they’ve won a holiday or scored a really good deal on a travel package, like a cruise. Unfortunately the prize or the cheap accommodation are phony. In 2018, nearly $135,000 has been lost to this scam.Parcel delivery scams: scammers may ask you to print off a label, do a survey, claim a prize, or view the status of your delivery by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Some scammers may even call or text with claims about an unsuccessful delivery. These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware onto their computer, or give up their personal information. People have lost about $31,000 to these scams in 2018.

“Scamwatch has also seen a massive influx of reports and money lost to tax scams. In November we received 7,500 reports of these scams and $400,000 was reported lost,” Ms Rickard said.

“This isn’t a usual holiday season scam, however a lot of people are getting calls from scammers pretending to be from the tax office or the police and threatening them with arrest over unpaid tax debts.”

“This is a scam. If you ever get a call or email containing threats like this, hang up the phone or delete the email,” Ms Rickard said.

Ms Rickard added that the key to avoiding a scammer’s con these holidays is a healthy dose of scepticism and research.

“We love snagging a great deal online for a loved one’s Christmas present and the idea of a bargain holiday is perfect for many after a long year. But don’t fall for it,” Ms Rickard said.

“Be sceptical about an online store you haven’t used before. Do some research to see if they’re legitimate and don’t be fooled by big discounts. With travel deals, call the accommodation provider directly, for example the cruise line or hotel, to check if the deal is legitimate.”

“If you see a seemingly great deal on an accommodation rental website like Airbnb, make sure you only communicate and pay through the official site to avoid getting stung by a fake listing,” Ms Rickard said.

“We’re all expecting parcels this time of year but be careful about online links and never download attachments. If you’re wondering if a delivery notice is legitimate, check the tracking number at the Australia Post or other delivery company website, or call them directly using a number you find from an online search or the phone book.”

“While with friends and family over the holidays, consider taking the opportunity to spread the warnings about these scams particularly to those loved ones who may be vulnerable.” Ms Rickard said.

Further information about holiday season scams is available at www.scamwatch.gov.au

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

This article by Bruce Mountain and Steven Percy (reprinted today on the InDaily website from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence) notes that South Australia’s energy prices have gone up as more renewables have entered the market – but that prices would have gone up even more without them:

“Does renewable electricity raise or lower electricity prices? There is more to this question than meets the eye: are prices lower before or after renewable subsidies are recovered, how has variability been accounted for, how have changes in network costs been accounted for, and so on and on.

Faced with a complex problem, policy makers often turn to specialists who simulate the future using their assumptions of costs and investments and their characterisation of the power system and market. This sort of thing has a dismal track record in predicting prices and is susceptible to the perception, even if not the reality, that she who pays the piper picks the tune.

An alternative is a data-driven regression that analyses large quantities of historic market data to understand the factors that have driven energy prices in the past. This approach requires few assumptions, and the quality and predictive power of the model is objectively measured. Even if the future is uncertain, we might be able to get a better sense of it by looking carefully at the past.

My colleagues and I used this approach to analyse South Australia’s wholesale prices from July 2012 to July 2018, during which period the annual average wholesale price increased by more than 30%.

There are many potential explanations for this increase: the last coal-fired power station closed in South Australia and two coal-fired power stations closed in Victoria; a greenhouse gas emissions tax came and went; electricity generation from the wind and sun increased by around 70%; while the price of gas climbed by a similar amount.

However, our research found by far the biggest reason for higher wholesale electricity prices in South Australia is higher gas prices. It does not help that so much of South Australia’s gas-fired electricity generation is remarkably inefficient.

Displacing expensive gas that is inefficiently used with cheaper sources of electricity can be expected to reduce wholesale prices. And so it does. In fact we found that in 2018, wind and solar generation in South Australia reduced prices by A$38 per megawatt-hour from what they otherwise would have been. Consumers were charged A$11 per MWh to subsidise this production, suggesting the subsidy paid for itself more than three times over.

Yes, with the rise of variable renewable production in South Australia, spot market electricity prices are more variable in 2018 than 2013. But there is no evidence that the power system, properly operated, can’t cope with it. Indeed, prices have been far more volatile in the past, long before the wind and sun became significant sources of power in South Australia.

In the market, prices are providing incentives for the development of storage and its substitutes and market participants are responding to these signals with investment in batteries and their substitutes and complements.

We also considered whether customers would have been better off if the state government had stepped in to extend the life of the Northern coal fired power station. Northern’s closure in 2016 raised wholesale prices by A$13 per MWh, but by 2018 all of this was offset by price reductions attributable to higher production from the wind and sun.

If the government had stepped in to keep Northern operating, customers and/or taxpayers would have been charged for the foregone emission reductions needed to ensure that Australia meets its Paris Agreement commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even before counting the public money needed to revive the plant and mine, Australians would have been worse off. We are now extending our research and expect to reach similar conclusions on coal generation closure and renewable subsidies in other parts of Australia.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s excellent energy policy review popularised the concept of an energy “tri-lemma”, suggesting that electricity policy needed to address trade-offs between prices, reliability, and emissions reductions.

But our research finds, emphatically, that renewable electricity generation brought prices down from what they otherwise would have been – and is likely to continue to do so. In electricity there is no dilemma between decarbonisation and lower wholesale prices.

System reliability and security must be prioritised in the transition to cleaner sources of power. But whether there is a dilemma between reliability and a cleaner power system remains to be seen.

The “tri-lemma” concept is already past its prime. Policy makers of all persuasions need to reflect this in their thinking.”

Bruce Mountain is director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Victoria Universityand Dr Steven Percyis a research fellow at Victoria University.

Read the original article.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Al Mina — Almond Baklava Triangle 250g & Four Finger Baklava 200g

29 Nov 2018

Product description

Almond Baklava Triangle 250g
Best Before 25 April 2019

Four Finger Baklava 200g
All Best Before dates

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (pistachios).

What are the hazards?

Consumers who have a nut allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if they consume this product.

What should consumers do?

Consumers with a nut allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

Consumers seeking further information can contact Al Mina on 0434 916 588

Supplier

Al Mina

Traders who sold this product

IGAs, Foodlands and independent grocery stores in South Australia

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Consumers have been equipped with a new tool making buying decisions easier with products now able to be compared on a fairer level, thanks to an international effort spearheaded by Australian experts.

The recently published International Standard, ISO 21041:2018, Guidance on unit pricing, provides a number of requirements to enable consumers to compare prices on similar items more accurately.

“This standard is directly aimed at empowering consumers, and enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans. “Unit price enables sellers to show the price of goods in relation to a standard unit of measure, such as the kilogram or litre. For example, for a 250 ml carton of orange juice offered at $2.95, the unit price would be $11.80 per litre.”

“Australia worked hard to lead the establishment of the relevant committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which has become ISO/PC 294Guidance on unit pricing, with the intent of delivering an international guidance standard,” said Dr Evans.

“This International Standard has now been published and consumers on a global scale may soon benefit from more information at the time of purchase thanks to the dedication of the international committee.”

“This standard will provide guidance in relation to products displayed on the shelf adjacent to the goods, on the package, in printed catalogues, in-store promotional material and when advertised on-line,” said Chair of the international Technical Committee, John Furbank. “For consumers some unit prices are not easy to read and in some countries there is no relevant legislation meaning unit pricing is not provided or it is provided in an ad hoc manner.

“Recent results of unit pricing research conducted by the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, revealed benefits for both consumers and retailers. The research, authored by Dr Clinton Weeks, suggests that effective provision of unit price information will not simply drive consumers to buy the cheapest product, but rather it allows them to make more informed choices – something that appears to reflect positively on retailers,” concluded Mr Furbank.

(Article by Scott McGrath republished from the Standards Australia website: 3 December 2018)

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis


Some companies charge customers a fee each time they send out a paper bill. The fee goes toward the cost of printing and posting the bill.
If you don't want to be charged this fee, here are some options that might work for you:

* Receive bills electronically
* Request an exemption from fees

If you have friends or family who do not have internet access or are on a low income, let them know they might be eligible for an exemption from paper billing fees.

Read more here.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

On 26 November 2018 the ACCC issued the following warning:

“Scamwatch is calling on businesses to urgently review how they verify and pay accounts and invoices as reports of business email compromise (BEC) scams to Scamwatch have grown by a third this year.

“This is a very sophisticated scam, which is why many businesses only realise they’ve been caught out once it’s too late,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

BEC scams occur when a hacker gains access to a business’s email accounts, or ‘spoof’ a business’s email so their emails appear to come from the company. The hacker then sends emails to customers claiming that the business’s banking details have changed and that future invoices should be paid to a new account. These emails look legitimate as they come from one of a business’s official email accounts. Payments then start to flow into the hacker’s account.

In other variations of the scam, the hacker will send an email internally to a business’s accounts team, pretending to be the CEO, asking for funds to be urgently transferred to an off-shore account. Hackers can also request salary or rental payments be directed to a new account.

Scamwatch has even received reports of the hackers intercepting house deposits that have been sent to conveyancers, real estate agents or law firms.

“It’s a scam that targets all kinds of businesses, including charities and local sporting clubs. There is a misconception these scams target just small business, however the largest amount of reports and losses came from medium sized businesses, including one that lost more than $300,000,” Ms Rickard added.

Businesses have reported losses to these scams totalling $2.8 million to Scamwatch in 2018. However, this represents only a fraction of total losses to this variety of scam across Australia. BEC scams cause businesses significant financial harm, accounting for 63 per cent of all business losses reported to Scamwatch. The average loss is nearly $30,000.

“Effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing scams, so all businesses should firstly be aware these scams exist and that their staff know about them too,” Ms Rickard said.

“They should consider a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar threshold and keep their IT security up-to-date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall.”

“Businesses should also check directly with their supplier if they notice a change in account details. It’s vital businesses don’t do this just by return email or using other contact details provided. Find older communications to ensure you have the right contact details or otherwise independently source them, so they can be sure they’re not contacting the scammer,” Ms Rickard said. 

Businesses affected by BEC scams should contact their financial institution immediately and consider professional IT advice to ensure their email systems and data are secure from hackers.”
 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Alphapharm Pty Ltd t/as Mylan Australia — DILART® and DILART®HCT (Valsartan) Tablets

Product description

Valsartan is used for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure in patients.

DILART® valsartan 40mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 167425)
DILART® valsartan 80mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 167427)
DILART® valsartan 160mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 167426)
DILART® valsartan 320mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 167421)

DILART® HCT 80/12.5mg valsartan 80mg/hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 187397)
DILART® HCT 160/12.5mg valsartan 160mg/hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 187403)
DILART® HCT 160/25mg valsartan 160mg/hydrochlorothiazide 25mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 187400)
DILART® HCT 320/12.5mg valsartan 320mg/hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 187402)
DILART® HCT 320/25mg valsartan 320mg/hydrochlorothiazide 25mg film-coated tablets (AUST R 187399)

The following batches of Valsartan film coated tablets (DILART®):
40mg - 8058886 (expiry Mar-20); 8063916 (expiry Apr-20); 8065072 (expiry Jun-20); 8070855 (expiry Oct-20)
80mg - 8045929 (expiry Jan-19); 8063786 (expiry Apr-20); 8063762 (expiry Apr-20); 8061781 (expiry Feb-20); 8061781 (expiry May-20)
160mg - 8045896 (expiry Mar-19); 8055982 (expiry Jan-20); 8064559 (expiry Jan-20); 8062862 (expiry Mar-20)
320mg - 8045924 (expiry Mar-19); 8048002 (expiry Mar-19); 8059368 (expiry Mar-20); 8059896 (expiry Mar-20); 8063761 (expiry Mar-20);
8070229 (expiry Mar-20); 8073700 (expiry Apr-20)

The following batches of Valsartan/ Hydrochlorothiazide film coated tablets (DILART® HCT):
80/12.5 mg - 8038886 (expiry Aug-19); 8076887 (expiry Mar-21)
160/12.5 mg - 8044826 (expiry Aug-19); 8076373 (expiry Mar-21)
160/25 mg - 8047518 (expiry Aug-19); 8075463 (expiry Mar-21)
320/12.5 mg - 8044825 (expiry Aug-19); 8075198 (expiry Mar-21)
320/25 mg - 8042677 (expiry Aug-19); 8075228 (expiry Mar-21)

What are the defects?

An impurity, N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) has been found in batches of Valsartan.

What are the hazards?

NDEA has been classified as a probable human carcinogen.

What should consumers do?

Patients are asked to return any DILART® or DILART® HCT to the supplying pharmacy for a refund and to discuss replacement options.

Patients who are on DILART® or DILART® HCT should NOT stop taking their medication prior to consulting a health care professional, as the risk of harm to the patient’s health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment.
Pharmacists have been advised that patients should be offered an alternative brand or referred to their health care professional if an alternative treatment is required. 

Patients have been advised NOTto cease their medication without seeking advice from their health care professional.  

For further information please contact customer service on 1800 274 276.

Supplier

Alphapharm Pty Ltd t/as Mylan Australia

Dates available for sale

  • 30 August 2016- 9 November 2018

Responsible regulator

Therapeutic Goods Administration is the responsible regulator for this recall.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The International Standards Organisation’s Technical Committee 229 - Nanotechnologies held its 21st Plenary meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from October 28th to November 2nd, 2018.

Consumers S.A.'s executive member, Elaine Attwood, was one of the delegation sent from Standards Australia.   For the first time in May next year, it is planned to hold the interim meeting  of the ISO/TC 229 in Sydney Australia where all five ISO/TC 229 working groups will meet.

The photograph shows Jan Herrmann, Delegation leader and head of Australia’s Working Group for measurement and characterisation, Elaine Attwood, who deals with Sustainability, Consumer and Societal Dimensions Task Group and Scott Martyn who heads Working Group 4 in Australia on Materials specifications. 

IMG_3193.jpeg
Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Consumers International and the Internet Society have launched a new consumer awareness campaign on Internet of Things security and privacy including a fun, educational film and a set of five tips to help consumers connect SMART:

“Smart products in our home

The number of active connected consumer products is rapidly increasing but unfortunately, many are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections. Without basic standards of security and privacy, these products can give someone with minimal hacking skills access to cameras and microphones, personal information, or even the ability to communicate directly with children or adults in the house. These products can also function as a gateway to other smart devices in the home.

There is currently no effective regulation of these products, and little consumer understanding of how they function or their faults.

New video - Consumer Society TV “the Buggle Baby Monitor”

The 90-second video aims to raise consumer awareness about some of the security issues with smart devices in the home and help people to connect SMART! The video can be viewed here.

New consumer tips - Connect Smart

To help consumers understand the issue and give them some practical advice about how to protect themselves, and connect SMART, we have also created some practical tips.

S – search for potential security and privacy issues before buying
Search the product online for reviews or news articles that identify security or privacy issues. Check whether you can make your device more secure by changing the password and adjusting the privacy settings. Confirm if the device receives regular software updates so any security vulnerabilities can be fixed.

M – make strong, unique passwords for each device
Generic default passwords can be easily identified and allow attackers to gain access. Set strong, unique passwords for each device, service and your home router. The longer the password the better; mix upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to increase the strength.

A – adjust settings for maximum security and privacy
Many devices and services come with minimal security protection by default and collect significant amounts of important information about you – so change your settings for greater security and privacy. Also plan to reset your device regularly. If attackers do access your device, malicious code is often stored in memory and a reset will clear it. If you become aware of an incident that may affect your device, visit the manufacturer’s website or contact the retailer where you bought it for information on what to do next.

R – regularly update software
If the device or app has an auto-update feature, turn it on. Find out how to check for software updates for each device and do it once a month. Most companies will release updates when they patch security vulnerabilities. Also accept updates for the apps on your mobile phone that control your device.

T – turn off features you don’t need and device when not in use
Lots of features on your device can continue to monitor you even when you don’t expect or need them to. To avoid this, disable cameras, microphones, or location tracking apps when you are not actively using them. And, if you are not using the device, turn it off.

You can find out more at www.connect-smart.org.

Our work on securing consumer trust in the Internet of Things

Alongside our work to empower consumers on this issue, we’re also working with manufacturers, retailers, and regulators to create safer, and more privacy respecting products. See our work here.”

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

From the InDaily website, Thursday November 22, 2018:

The State Government will consult with welfare groups next year to determine whether a change to the energy handout would benefit South Australians who are struggling to afford power bills.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink today confirmed to InDaily that her department is developing a consultation plan with the not-for-profit sector and energy customers to explore alternative models for the administration of energy concessions.

The consultation, expected to begin early next year, will include research into concession models used in other Australian jurisdictions and the potential benefits of changing the Government’s current fixed concession amount.

Eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes are currently entitled to receive up to $223.01 to cover both electricity and gas payments for the 2018-19 financial year.

But the system has been criticised by welfare groups, who say the fixed amount is inequitable for larger families who require more power than the average household.

Data from the Australian Energy Regulator shows the number of residential customer electricity disconnections in South Australia increased by about 130 per cent between 2009-10 and 2016-17.

It also shows the number of South Australian customers on hardship programs to help with electricity payments increased by about 78 per cent between June 2013 and June 2017, despite the total number dipping after 2016.

Electricity bill debt is also on the rise in SA, with the AER reporting the average customer debt upon entry to a hardship program rose by $326 in 2016-17 compared to the previous year.

Lensink said her department would consult with a range of stakeholders, including the South Australian Council of Social Service, which has previously called on the State Government to adopt a percentage-based electricity concession similar to that used in Victoria.

Under a percentage-based scheme, households would be eligible for a concession relative to the size of their electricity bill rather than a flat rate for all households. In Victoria, the current concession rate is set at 17.5 per cent of household electricity bills.

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley told InDaily today that altering the structure of energy concessions would be “the most powerful thing the Government could do to help families living in the lowest income brackets”.

“We are certainly pleased that looking at energy concessions is on the Government’s agenda,” he said.

“The way that pricing for energy is moving, we are seeing a situation where the value and targeting of concessions could be maximised.”

Womersley said the consultation should also include electricity retailers, which he described as playing a “massive role in households transitioning to energy concessions”.

“There are particular issues with the administration of the South Australian concession,” he said.

“In many instances, people don’t have smooth transitions to the concession when it comes to transitioning to a different retailer for a better deal, for example.

“Because the transition isn’t smooth, people might go months without the concession in place.

“In other jurisdictions that isn’t the case because it’s the retailers that take over the management of the concession, which we think would also be a helpful model for South Australia.”

SACOSS’s latest Cost of Living Report, published today, shows electricity prices in Adelaide decreased by 0.8 per cent from last quarter.

But Womersley said South Australia still remained “one of the worst places in Australia in terms of electricity prices”.

We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.

InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click here to become an InDaily supporter.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

With an increase in trampoline parks comes a higher chance of injury, and a greater role for standards to play in minimising risks that might lead to such injuries. Standards Australia recently published a new Australian Standard: AS 5159.1:2018, Trampoline park facilities, Part 1: General safety requirements and test methods.

Read more on the Standards Australia website.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in a regular series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.

 First dietary fibre verified natural according to International Standards Organisation (ISO)

Major chicory root processor Sensus announced that their full range of chicory inulin and oligo-fructose products qualifies as natural according to the new ISO 19657:2017 standard. About a year after ISO set a new standard for food ingredients to be called “natural”, chicory root fibre is the first dietary fibre to achieve this verification.

 Source:   http://www.iinspiredbyinulin.com.

Author:   Mrs. Anne Marie Bastiaansen 

Credit:    imfo@sensus.nl

 

Better Juice: The food tech start-up turning sugars into dietary fibres.

Better Juice has developed a process that can turn the natural sugars in juice into dietary fibres, an innovation than it believes could be a game – changer for the beverage sector. The health halo enjoyed by fruit juice has slipped somewhat, with concern over sugar consumption raising questions over how healthy fruit juices really are. The big problem with drinking juice, versus eating a piece of fruit, is that the juicing process releases the sugars and removes the insoluble fibres in fruit. Fruit juices on average contain 10 to 12% sugar and no dietary fibres. However, take away the fibre and the health implications of juice consumption become more problematic. Like all sugary drinks, the fructose in juice is absorbed immediately and evidence suggests that fructose in liquid form can contribute to health problems such as obesity or type II diabetes. And like any high sugar drink, juice consumption is linked to tooth decay.

“We developed a continuous flow sugar reduction process to reduce the simple sugars in an orange juice. It converts sugar to fibres and other non - digestible natural sugars to make juice healthier,”Better juice founder and CEO Dr. Eran Blachinsky told food Navigator. Better juice uses a non – GMO organism activity and a continuous protocol to convert sugars into fibres.

Source:   https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/10/17

Author:   Katy Askew

Credit:    2018 - William Reed Business Media Ltd

 

Allergy ‘nightmare’: calls for crackdown on labelling of ice cream, cakes, cookies.

Ingredients lists of common supermarket products - including ice creams and biscuits – are often not declaring food allergens, prompting calls for a crackdown on labelling to protect vulnerable consumers. A Melbourne University survey revealed that in more than 60% of cases where consumers suffered an allergic reaction to packaged food, the suspected allergen was not listed in the ingredients. Australian law requires companies to declare all potential allergens in ingredients lists. These include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy, lupin  and wheat. Statements such as “may contain traces” or “may be present” found on many products are merely voluntary and are unregulated. There are on average, more than 30 food recalls every year, according to Food Standards Australia. 

Dr Robert Loblay, the director of the allergy unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in New South Wales, said he was not optimistic about improved regulation when it comes to food allergen labelling. “We already had a big national review of food labelling in 2009’ he said ‘(I suggested that) rather than stating that a product ‘may contain traces of’  - or some variation of that - that manufacturers be required to label their products as ‘may be contaminated with.’

Source:    https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2018/10/19

AuthorL:  Alana Mitchelson

Credit:     The New Daily

From compost to cakes: Carrot pulp flour gives healthy reformulation green credentials 

Danish wholesaler Greens has developed a high fibre, baking–friendly carrot flour made from carrot pulp, a byproduct of the juicing industry, that previously went to compost. As part of an innovation pilot course at the Danish Technical University (DTU) wholesaler Greens Engroa challenged  engineering students to develop ways to optimise its production line and upcycle the carrot peel and pulp Through its in-house juicing and fresh produce operations, Greens generates around 100 times of biological waste every month. Although this byproduct is turned into biogas or compost, it could have higher value uses. By replacing 35% flour with the current powder, DTU students created a golden coloured bread with texture and structure that was similar to conventional bread. Between carrot peel, pulp and the tips which are trimmed, an estimated 26% of the carrot is peeled before used as a food product. This means that over one quarter of the vegetable, which is packed not just with fibre but with other nutrients such as beta-carotene, is usually thrown away. The researchers believe the same process could be used with other fruit and vegetables, such as onion and broccoli .

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/09/10

Author:   Niamh Michail

Credit:   2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Australia and New Zealand set for retail sales of monk fruit sweetener by 2019.

Food standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) aims to permit the sale of monk fruit as a sweetener in the two countries by January 2019. Currently, monk fruit is only approved for sale as a fruit or drink flavouring. Following safety evaluations by FSANZ, monk fruit has been detremined to be safe for human consumption as a food additive, specifically as an intense sweetener. Monk fruit, or luo han guo, is a small fruit native to China and Thailand. It is difficult to store and visually unappetising in its fresh form. Traditionally, it is dried and used in herbal teas or remedies in traditional Chinese medicine, especially in China and Southeast Asia. It’s extract, which would be used to make the sweetener, is 150 to 200 times sweeter than traditional table sugar. This contains zero carbohydrates, fat, sodium or calories, making it perfect for manufacturers seeking a low-calorie ingredient.   Additionally, monk fruit sweetness comes from mogrosides, a natural compound that does not increase blood sugar, making it safe for consumers with diabetes. China previously banned the removal of monk fruit or its genetic material from its shores, in an effort to protect its monopoly over monk fruit cultivation, and thus  mogroside production. 

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/09/25

Author:  Pearly Neo

Credit:   William Reed  Business Media Ltd.

How ‘behind the scenes’ efforts can help address consumer food waste.

One third of food produced globally is wasted. In developed economies, the majority of waste occurs in the home. With the pressures of a global population and finite natural resources, this situation is not sustainable. Systems thinking is needed: collaboration, innovation and data sharing will be the key. Each year roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted. This equates to a monetary value of almost 870 billon pounds. At the same time, food poverty is all around us. In the European union alone, an estimated 55 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day. Studies estimate that food waste in Europe generates 186 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually – 15% of the total impacts from the entire food supply chain. While most food waste occurs in the home – outside the food industry’s direct sphere of control, it is nevertheless incumbent upon the industry to figure out innovative ways of reducing consumer level food waste.   

The article goes on to demonstrate how some companies are dealing with the issue including Tesco which is the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data and has announced a joint commitment to adopting the sustainable development goal target 12.3 to halve per capita food waste by 2030.

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/10/24

Author:  Katy Askew

Credit:   William Reed Business Media Ltd.

NOTE: For full script of all articles please check the references. 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd — Medtronic MiniMed™ 640G Insulin Infusion Pump

Date published

12 Nov 2018

Product description

The MiniMed 640G Insulin Pump (models MMT-1711 & MMT-1712) is an ambulatory, battery operated, rate programmable micro infusion pump.

The MiniMed 640G pump is intended for continuous insulin delivery and delivery of user activated insulin boluses, for the management of diabetes mellitus in persons requiring insulin.

This recall affects MiniMed 640G Insulin Pumps with version 4.10 software

ARTG Number: 95763

Identifying features

Models MMT-1711 & MMT-1712

What are the defects?

The MiniMed 640G Insulin pump with version 4.10 software has failed to make expected audio sounds during alerts, alarms and sirens. The failure could either cause the alarm volume to be stuck at a 4 (out of 5) level regardless of personal settings, or it could make no sound.

What are the hazards?

Failure of expected audio sounds could cause users to miss system notifications, alarms or sirens associated with how the pump is working, and with high and low glucose alerts.

If this issue occurs, audio cannot be permanently repaired or regained.

Pumps experiencing this issue will continue to deliver insulin as expected.

What should consumers do?

Users of Medtronic MiniMed 640G Insulin Pumps will be contacted by mail for further information.
However, in the meantime consumers should comply with the following precautionary steps:
- Ensure the vibrate and audio features are enabled on devices.
- Perform an audio beep test to identify pumps that may be experiencing this potential issue. The test will identify if the pump's audio is working. Instructions for conducting the test can be found at http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/checkaudio(link is external)

In the event that the audio beep test fails, consumers are advised to contact Medtronic to start the replacement process.

Where the audio beep test passes, users are advised to repeat the audio beep test as a matter of routine along with every set change and once mid-way through the infusion set with continued use of the pump, or whenever users notice they may have not heard an alert or alarm that was displayed on the screen or resulted in a vibration.

For further information, contact the Medtronic Customer Support Line on 1800 777 808.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

South Australian Power Networks and SA Water submit a Regulatory Business Plan (RBP) to the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) for a five year period.  It is ESCOSA’s job to approve their plans and in so doing determine the amount of revenue they can earn. It is then up to the individual utility to decide how they will raise that revenue. 

Both Utilities have made public their draft plans. Presently the spotlight is on SA Water. ESCOSA have issued a series of guidance papers intended to inform all stakeholders of the Commission’s initial positions on: principles, requirements and methodology on matters relevant to the determination.   The guidance papers should be read in conjunction with the Framework and Approach paper released in July 2018.

SA Water has to take into account the matters sent out in the guidance papers when preparing its initial business plan, which will form the basis of consultations with its customers, stakeholders and other participants  in the lead up to the making of ESCOSA’s determination.

 

The guidance papers issued to date are:

1.    Overview of economic regulation of SA Water

Confirms the process for arriving at previous determinations and outlines future opportunities for stakeholders to provide input into the determination.

2.  Revenue regulation and pricing principles
            Explains how SA Water’s drinking water and sewerage revenues will be determined,

            using a cost-based (building blocks) approach and informed by a negotiation process.

            It also explains how the Commission will regulate the prices of SA Water’s

            excluded services.

3.  Service standards

Explains the Commission’s process for reviewing its principal consumer protection industry code: the Water Retail Code - Major Retailers, which include customer service standards.

 4.  Prudent and efficient expenditure

            Explains the Commission’s approach to reviewing SA Water’s proposed expenditure to

            assess whether it is prudent and efficient, to feed into the calculation of the maximum

            revenue allowance. It provides context on the ‘negotiable’; and ‘non-negotiable’ elements 

            of SA Water’s costs, and provides an indication of some potential future cost drivers.

            It also provides guidance to SA Water on the minimum information that is should provide

            to the Negotiation Forum to allow it to assess whether proposed initiatives, programs and

            projects are prudent and efficient.

5.  The cost of funding and using assets

            This paper explains the Commission’s methodology for determining the efficient cost of

            funding and using assets to provide drinking water and sewerage services, in particular

            the return on regulated assets. 

Any person can make a submission to the Commission on any or all of the above and will be taken into account when the Commission makes its determination.  

 Alternatively if any member of Consumers SA has an issue they would like to put forward via

the association please email the details to: elaineattwood@internode.on.net

Copies of all the documents under discussion are available from the ESCOSA website:

escosa.sa.gov.   

 

 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis