Clean Energy Dirty Tricks? A $500 Gift Card for Signing Over Your Property Rights

Essay by Eric Worrall

Aussie Clean energy companies attempting to action the Left wing Albanese Government’s green grid expansion, appear to have turned to unsavoury practices to try to progress their agenda.

The clean energy super highway has hit a roadblock. Here’s why

Landline / By national regional affairs reporter Jane Norman

When a power giant offered Katherine Myers a $500 gift card, she had no idea she was about to give away unrestricted access to her property for the next four years.

A self-described naturally trusting person, it was only when a relative read the fine print that she realised what privately owned entity AusNet was after.

“My father-in-law went through the agreement and said, ‘No, this is actually providing unfettered access for four years for both surface [and] invasive surveys on the property’,” she says.

Myers declined the card but the power imbalance, she says, was clear from the start.

“They told us that we could have that gift card if we signed up to voluntary access but they also told us that if we don’t, that they’ve got Section 93 powers and they’d come on our land anyway,” she says.

Read more:

The gift card was allegedly issued in relation to constructing the Western Renewables Link in the Australian state of Victoria.

In my opinion, power companies or their contractors or whichever party is responsible are out of their minds trying to pull such stunts. They need the cooperation of country folk. Most country folk are law abiding, but if they keep beating on country people through unsavoury practices, threats and legal compulsory property powers, sooner or later some of them will lose faith in the law. We could end up with the same situation as South Africa.

In South Africa, power pylon sabotage and metal theft are a big problem. Power pylons are full of valuable metal.

Eskom finds evidence of sabotage at Lethabo Power Station – pylon supports were cut

Kyle Cowan

  • Eskom has found that supports attached to a pylon that toppled over near Lethabo Power Station on Wednesday, were cut.
  • It is the clearest evidence yet of an orchestrated campaign to sabotage Eskom, however the motive remains unclear.
  • Eskom group chief executive André de Ruyter confirmed on Friday that it pointed to sabotage.

Eskom has, for the first time, found clear evidence that points to sabotage at its Lethabo Power Station, near Vereeniging in the Free State.

The power utility found that supports attached to a small pylon carrying power lines that feed electricity to the power station’s overland coal conveyor, were cut, which caused it to topple over onto a backup power line, rendering both inoperable.

The pylon fell just before 18:00 on Wednesday evening, immediately before evening peak demand hours. Eskom group chief executive André de Ruyter called it a “close shave” on Thursday.

Read more:

The African thieves were clever. They didn’t cut the power lines, which would have been immediately detected, they stole valuable stainless steel pylon supports – but left enough so the pylons didn’t immediately fall. When the thieves left, the power lines were still operating, which allowed the theft to go undetected until mechanical failure caused by the missing structural support members brought down the power line.

I’m not in any way advocating law breaking or sabotage, WUWT does not condone law breaking. My point is power companies need the cooperation of country folk. Thousands of miles of power line infrastructure cannot be affordably patrolled by power companies. Power companies need rural land owners to love them so much that every day the land owners themselves run a quick inspection of electricity infrastructure on their land, and willingly cooperate with catching the thieves and saboteurs.

Legalised land seizures and unsavoury practices like this gift card are not the path to win love and compliance.

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Jim Masterson
September 17, 2023 6:07 pm

Only a $500 gift card? In today’s inflation spiral, that’s chump change.

Reply to  Jim Masterson
September 17, 2023 9:07 pm

Its not property rights payment at all. As a utility they already have the right to enter the property in this case for ground surveys etc There would be many many others who have similar rights
“A Utilities Land Access Order allows an applicant to enter neighbouring land for the purpose of carrying out work on a sewerage, drainage, water, gas, electricity or telephone service.”

Any use of the land for transmission towers as an easement involves am actual payment for that , maybe $20,000 . I dont know the going rate for a tiny area used for the pylons feet

Reply to  Duker
September 17, 2023 9:35 pm

It’s not the feet that cause the easement, it’s the cable route, plus clearances.

The lost land values due to an ugly transmission tower is not paid for.

Reply to  Eng_Ian
September 17, 2023 10:19 pm

That will be negotiated at the time they get the legal easement and build. This is just geotech investigations and surveyors, no lasting change

But the problem is Nimbys meets a massive renewable target – nay an impossible renewable target

Reply to  Duker
September 17, 2023 11:09 pm

They will still need to negotiate access restitution irrespective of their rights under the law, and that will be required before they gain access. There is the question of reinstatement of damage and loss of “quiet enjoyment” of their land during the period of the investigative works. You cannot just walk onto private property here in Australia and do as you please and then walk away.

Reply to  Streetcred
September 18, 2023 10:19 am

That they have the right of access I do not doubt. However I am less certain that they have the right to do invasive surveys without the land owners permission.

Here in the US, the right of access is limited to inspecting and repairing existing power lines.

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 2:19 pm

Wrong . Simply isnt so

Reply to  Streetcred
September 18, 2023 2:18 pm

Yes The ultities have ‘rights too’ Quiet enjoyment isnt a basic right

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 10:17 am

First you trivialize the issues, then you insult those who don’t agree with you.
You definitely have an ax to grind and have no intention of behaving honorably.

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 2:21 pm

Some people havent read the story just the misleading headline. Dont like the heat get out of the kitchen,

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 4:01 am

the payments are far more than 20k because the areas claimed are NOT tiny theres the massive tower area PLUS a clearance both sides for firehazard . many of the farmers will lose a huge chunk of a paddock or multiples as the lines run across more than one for many.
gutless andrews and albo wont show their faces and the powercos also avoid any public meetings. our local MP who was semisupportive of green has woken up and is now supporting a NO on this idiot scam

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 10:16 am

It’s a lot more than just the pylons as you well know. It’s also the maintenance of the land underneath the power lines as well as the fact that you can’t build anything else on that land.
Your attempts to trivialize the issues doesn’t speak well for a belief that you intend to argue honestly.

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 2:25 pm

Its farmland. Whats with the online stalking selecting out my comments to say the same thing ?

This is access for intial surveys. Permanent easement comes later and is financially rewarded
These are nimbys with hobby farms , real farmers welcome the power lines as it comes with considerable payments as they have large acreages.

old cocky
Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 3:17 pm

real farmers welcome the power lines as it comes with considerable payments as they have large acreages.

That would be everybody in your extensive network of farmer and grazier friends, would it?

old cocky
Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 2:57 pm

“A Utilities Land Access Order allows an applicant to enter neighbouring land for the purpose of carrying out work on a sewerage, drainage, water, gas, electricity or telephone service.”

That’s a different animal. As far as I am aware, it covers the case where work is being conducted close to a property boundary, and a wider working space is needed for equipment or crew. Power lines, sewer mains, etc, tend to be run alongside roads where possible, and it is often necessary to have access to adjoining properties.

A few things which seem to have been missed so far are:

  • To prevent stock theft, gates which adjoin roadways are usually kept locked.
  • Biosecurity rules often require recording any access to the property by anybody other than the owners or regular workers.
  • People need to be fully aware to leave open gates open and closed gates closed.
  • Cows with young calves are quite dangerous.
  • Bulls are dangerous at any time.
  • Disrupting lambing ewes can lead to stock losses.
  • Vehicles can introduce weeds.
  • Vehicles, and people, can damage growing crops.
  • Vehicles introduce a fire risk to ripe crops or freshly harvested paddocks.

All of these require coordination, and could require changes to management practices.

Where does the legal liability lie for survey teams accessing properties?

Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 6:08 pm

Eminent domain, in US legal jargon. The problem is that the government “negotiates” like Don Corleone with property holders, rarely paying true market price.

Jim Masterson
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 6:21 pm

Eminent Domain states that the king (or queen) owns all property, and he (or she) can take it back at any time. In the US, the government is required to pay current value for it–but they decide what the current value is. Probably $500 is an over payment to them. I’m surprised it wasn’t one dollar–take it or else!

Reply to  Jim Masterson
September 17, 2023 9:11 pm

Not eminent domain . Its just for entry to the property for doing ground testing etc

There is no taking of the land at this stage . If they need it later they will be paid a much much larger amount and have a legal agreement to do so . Yes utilities have the upper hand as you cant win in court like eminent domain

But think about every road you drive down , was that land taken for the public purpose. Switch on the lights tonight and that power comes from a grid , much of it passing over land taken as easements

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 10:22 am

Since the government has a right to take land for public use, therefore the government has the right to take anything it wants.

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 12:17 pm

Not entirely correct. The roads in our neighborhood were purchased, and belong to us.

old cocky
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 18, 2023 2:17 pm

In most of inland NSW, a network of roads was catered for when farm blocks were being laid out.
I’m fairly sure there was a 2 chain roadway along each property boundary, and also a subset of 3 chain roadways to be used as travelling stock routes. The 3 chain roadways were the direct routes between settlements, or those following watercourses..

Most of these old roads were never built up, but most still nominally exist.

Similarly, when hamlets, villages, towns and cities were drawn up, they were divided into blocks of rectangular house blocks, and quite often with an access laneway between the backs of adjoining blocks. You still see this in many country towns.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 18, 2023 2:27 pm

I said ‘just about’ So you have never driven on a freeway that was taken by eminent domain. Your power, water, sewerage disposal all created under eminent domain

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 7:14 pm

The U.S. government and Mafia have merged.

Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 9:12 pm

Read the story to help you be better informed . No US and no mafia . Its in Australia

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 9:14 pm

Not sure how true this story is, but my grandfather told me the fascists in Italy basically stole the family lands by paying basically pennies per acre of the vineyards they owned, hence why the family immigrated to America. I like to believe it wouldn’t come to this in western democracies, certainly it would be a major warning sign. Sad that they try and trick people, if they can’t be honest about what they are doing it really warrants some consideration into the plausibility of their “solution”.

Reply to  Jonny5
September 17, 2023 10:22 pm

How do you think the US power grid and interstate highway system were built.
Roads and railways and power lines have always used eminent domain to take the property but pay for it. The world you live in today was built by eminent domain , so enough of the silly facism stuff, .

Reply to  Duker
September 17, 2023 10:40 pm

I guess the point being that they weren’t paid a fair price, all their land was essentially seized, not saying that is happening now, the point is the concept of eminent domain has been abused in the past, there is no reason to believe it couldn’t be abused again. Why the need for subterfuge if the projects are adding so much value to society? Also, it was literally fascists who took the land/livelihood of my family, but you are free to think fascism is silly and a thing of the past.

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 12:20 pm

Again, not entirely true. Railroads purchased the land, or the railroad gave the landowner bonds in return for the land. The only railroads for which land was provided the land were the Land Grant railroads, and it was Government land that was conveyed.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 18, 2023 2:34 pm

Easements are purchased for power lines , like the rail corridors were too.
Water supply dam sites and the easements for the trunk pipes, sewerage disposal all created under eminent domain and easements paid for.

this is mere access for initial investigations on pylon sites. An easement is paid for later on when major works begin
Whats wrong with that . Literally modern society doesnt exist without it.

The existing high voltage grid you enjoy the benefits from was created the same way

No its a bad thing because ‘renewables’ ? It too is just a power source , not very reliable and as these power lines show has considerable costs as well

Reply to  Duker
September 18, 2023 5:19 pm

Nominal private ownership with de facto government control is the definition of fascism. Eminent domain is fascist.

September 17, 2023 7:02 pm

You don’t need to take down the tower, nor even undo any bolts. If you want to bring down a pylon, just stack some wood around the base of one pylon leg. Set it alight. The fire damages the steel and this would then need to be replaced before the next high wind. If you damage the hold down bolts, or the piece concreted into the ground then the whole tower has to be removed.

Of course that would be illegal, reckless and dangerous but if you are determined to cause mayhem, then it is a safer way, compared to undoing bolts, or cutting stays.

And of course, you wouldn’t have to do this yourself, just tell some of the extinction rebels that the pylon is carrying fossil fuel fired electricity. Why not use them as your own useful idiot?

NOTE…. the above is NOT endorsement of the deed. You act alone under your own direction, (regardless of what the little devil on your shoulder is saying).

Reply to  Eng_Ian
September 17, 2023 7:37 pm

just tell some of the extinction rebels that the pylon is carrying fossil fuel fired electricity.”

Or you could inform the Stinkies that the local wind turbine and solar panels were all made using fossil fuels.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  bnice2000
September 17, 2023 8:27 pm

I don’t think they care about that much in South Africa.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Eng_Ian
September 17, 2023 8:25 pm

The objective is to steal some of the metal for resale or use.

Other objectives are usually to try to steal power by tapping the line. There is no need to try to bring down power lines. Eskom’s supplies have become so intermittent anyway.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 9:38 pm

And once the tower is down for maintenance….. Then you grab the pylon steel AND the conductors.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 18, 2023 4:06 am

actually a well place bullet would probably bring a line down..just musing as i dont own a gun to practice with;-)
theres a fair few hunters out that way though…

Reply to  Eng_Ian
September 18, 2023 4:04 am

if its to the standard of the SA will fall over in a storm and cause a fire killing stock n wildlife and stuffing crops etc

John Oliver
September 17, 2023 8:35 pm

But I don’t think they are going to stop! They are bound and determined to go all renewable as far as I can tell. What do our friends down under think?

September 17, 2023 10:52 pm

So it begins in earnest with the Great Transitioning-
Codelco ends long-term mined copper deals to China clients from 2025 -sources (
We’d like some spot pricing for our copper in future thanks climate changers.

September 17, 2023 11:04 pm

The African thieves were clever. They didn’t cut the power lines, which would have been immediately detected, they stole valuable stainless steel pylon supports – but left enough so the pylons didn’t immediately fall. When the thieves left, the power lines were still operating, which allowed the theft to go undetected until mechanical failure caused by the missing structural support members brought down the power line.”

After which they go after the main prize, the thick copper cables which are now de-energized. The thieves are indeed very clever.

Kevin Kilty
Reply to  Streetcred
September 18, 2023 6:15 am

Overhead lines are made of copper? I don’t think so. Way too heavy. They are more likely aluminum conductors with central steel cables for support.

Reply to  Kevin Kilty
September 18, 2023 10:26 am

Aluminum is pretty valuable as well.

September 17, 2023 11:05 pm

Opposition Leader Dutton comes out swinging against Minister Bowen-
Chris Bowen ‘unhinged’ on nuclear energy: Peter Dutton (
although the Coalition are still clinging onto changing the weather with the nut zero fantasy.

Reply to  observa
September 18, 2023 4:09 am

Bowens trying to cite huge mega billions for SMR nukes(called it untested and unicorn farts..hed know about those)
however if we added up what crapgreens already cost for SFA use?
and his idiotic CCS and hydrogen scams?
bet its billions more

Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 1:25 am

We truly are on Planet Stupid here.
Truly, it’s heartbreaking.

In order to move (significant amounts of) power around and over long distance, direct current is The Only Way To Go
Not certainly very very least, it would No More New Transmission Lines
(overhead ones certainly)

How/why:Overhead lines are ‘as they are’ exactly because of 2 things – alternating current and high voltage.

Everybody (most everybody) thinks that high voltage towers/pylons are like that because of the voltage. Wrong wrong wrong
High Voltage is NOT any sort of problem

The alternating current is The Problem for transmission-line engineers/designers because of Capacitance.
Towers/pylons/lines are big, large and tall, with widely separated wires and not underground so that the current/power in any one cable/wire does not capacitatively couple to the other wires or to ground.
That’s the reason

If you use Direct Current, that issue vanishes completely.
Even better, because the AC insulators and components have to be rated for the Peak Voltage (and current) of the AC power, using DC means you can simply raise the voltage by sqrt(2) and also the current
Thus converting an existing AC line to DC instantly doubles its power handling capability – without doing anything else.

Then. you can shrink the towers after they’ve fallen over and need replacing.
In fact, you can disappear them entirely as DC power doesn’t mind one single jot whether its 20 feet underground or 100 feet overground
A new transmission line would be even simpler faster easier to install than any ordinary gas/water/oil pipeline
And 10’sof thousands of miles of those are buried every single year.
Just use the ground under the existing lines.
Or hang a DC line through the existing towers, one DC line could carry twice the power of the existing 3 phase lines and you could thread 3 DC lines on each ‘level’ of the pylon where the existing AC wires are strung and one along the top.
i.e. Existing towers would then carry 8 times the power of the AC lines AND, you can still operate the AC lines

So what do they do = build new towers running AC
jeez wept

This is Real Insanity unfolding all around us – it truly is.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 1:35 am

I forgot: Skin Effect

Going to DC gets rid of that as well and it exists in all exiting AC lines

When using DC, the current flows through the entire volume/bulk of your conductor, not just the skin around the outside of the wire.
Thus you get an even bigger bonus: Because existing AC lines are de-rated because of Skin Effect, putting DC through them means you can bump up the power even more.

Existing AC lines could carry three times the power without any adjustment/change what-so-ever – simply by feeding them DC instead of AC

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 18, 2023 6:12 am

It’s not just the transmission lines farmers are against Eric, it’s the whole renewables debacle. The host landholders think they’ve signed up for a sweet deal but the truth about what they’re in for is starting to unfold. We started the fight against this infrastructure almost five years ago here in the wine region of Central West NSW, our numbers have grown mightily and have expanded interstate and found support in the city too. We have been requested as witnesses at two parliamentary hearings and I am proud to say we have slowed things up and forced people to ask questions.

Our primary goal was to disseminate information and to assist others with submissions against projects as we become aware of them. We need to return to real sources of energy that provides power reliably 24/7 without the need for new transmission lines. And we need to add nuclear to the mix too. The proposed use of thousands of square kilometres of agricultural land for weather dependent, intermittent, low density wind and solar is nothing short of insanity.

Reply to  megs
September 18, 2023 9:52 am

I don’t blame the farmers. Many of them have worked hard to preserve the environment by planting groves of trees along river courses, only to have the power line companies come along and bulldoze them away for transmission line easements. They have been offered up to A$200,000, but it works out at only A$20/acre for the loss of their productive land forever.

Reply to  megs
September 18, 2023 4:16 pm

Thank you Meg for the effort you’ve expended in educating people and getting them to ask questions.
Here’s a link that might help readers here understand why we’re so determined to end this “insanity”/

Reply to  Sommer
September 19, 2023 1:40 am

Thanks for your encouragement Sommer, and the link too. It will be useful to add to a host of information we have in our fight against a local wind/solar project, as well as many others. We have gleaned information from STT in the past as well as this site of course and we always state the source of information no matter where it comes from.

Just one project near our home will consist of 69 turbines at 7MW each and standing at 280m high and 200m wide. The solar will be 500MW and each project will have matched BESS. The 90 square kilometre site will also have two substations and its own 11 kilometre transmission line to connect up to the national grid that doesn’t exist yet. This is one of 32 projects in the pipeline in our region so far.

You need at least 50 independent submissions for an inquiry into each project or it will be automatically approved. We achieved 49 in a recent solar proposal, very frustrating. At least those that will be held to account will be made aware of the many problems associated with this form of energy.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 9:47 am

There’s very little skin effect at 50/60 Hz. The power authorities have bigger issues, such as PF, to contend with.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 9:22 am

If power lines were high voltage DC, how would the voltage be transformed to the lower voltages needed for consumer use? Power transmission is high voltage so that lower current flow occurs, minimizing resistance IR losses, and transformers drop the voltage at the consumer site. DC at low voltage has large resistance caused loss, so that’s out.

Reply to  slowroll
September 18, 2023 10:39 pm

Switch-mode solid-state Inverters. Used everywhere these days, and losses are usually minimal.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 18, 2023 10:29 am

DC requires expensive equipment to step the voltages up and down. That’s why long distance transport is DC while distribution is always AC.

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 2:42 pm

Long distance high voltage is better with DC, as it lowers line losses, but much long distance is still AC as its more flexible

Most of these ‘inter tie’ lines in the WECC are AC and a few DC – notice the grey long N-S one

Just imagine the easements ‘taken’ ! Silly people think it means fascism…MAGA idiots usually , some are smart enough to know the realities but are MAGA opportunists

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 10:42 pm

HV AC transmission line losses are around around 7%/1000 kms, while HVDC losses are usually less than 3%, with end inversion losses less than 2% each end. Efficiency crossover point is around 700kms, after that, HVDC is the way to go.

September 18, 2023 9:08 am
September 18, 2023 2:28 pm

The resident of regional Australia are being railroaded by policies designed to gander the votes of constituents living in or surrounding their respective State Capitals. Regional voters make up less 20% of the total most States so their interests are overwhelmed by the Capital City voters.

Regional residents need to embrace Chapter VI of the Australian Constitution and take the action required to create new Regional States. At a minimum they should not vote for a Political Party or Candidate supporting NET ZERO and the erosion of property rights.

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