AGL sells digital metering business to Ausgrid

AGL has sold ‘s largest digital metering business, Active Stream, to Ausgrid in order to become “technology agnostic”.
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The acquisition marks the first major investment by Ausgrid since it was partially privatised and its ownership transferred from the NSW government to superannuation funds nSuper and IFM Investors in December 2016.

While the purchase price has not been revealed, AGL said it expected to record a post-tax profit on the sale of about $25 million.

The company said the divestment of the digital metering business was part of the company’s strategy to broaden its reach and retain access of non-digital customers.

“AGL’s decision to divest Active Stream reflects the evolution of AGL’s strategy to become technology agnostic in the development of innovative, data-enabled energy products and services that are accessible to all customers, regardless of meter provider,” the company said in a statement.

Active Stream was started by AGL in 2015 to install digital metering capabilities ahead of the n Energy Market Commission’s Power of Choice regulatory reforms, which come into effect on December 1, and will give consumers more capability to participate in the energy market and establish a demand-side response mechanism.

Ausgrid said these regulatory reforms will provide a new area of growth for the industry, as “digital meters will be required for all new and replacement meters for small customers”.

AGL developed the business as part of its wider ‘New Energy’ division, which it called its ‘corporate innovation accelerator’, and was part of the generator and retailer’s push into non-traditional energy and technology.

This included rooftop solar, battery storage, and the potential integration of electric vehicle battery charging stations into the company.

Ausgrid said the acquisition of Active Stream was part of its strategy to gain increased exposure to the Power of Choice metering market.

“Ausgrid’s ambition is to be the metering service provider of choice to major and minor retailers,” Ausgrid chief executive Richard Gross said.

The company added that the “acquisition provides a solid platform to grow its significant digital meter footprint and will provide broader benefits to its unregulated business strategy”.

Following the sale, Active Stream will still continue to provide digital metering services to AGL.

Active Stream has installed more than 230,000 digital meters across the national electricity market, which comprises Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South .

The sale is expected to be completed early next month.

AGL’s shares rose 1.5 per cent in early trading to reach $25.56, its highest point since March this year.

Cr John Mackenzie urges NSW to join national ‘Ban the Bag’ campaignPHOTOS, VIDEO

NO PLASTIC: Councillor John Mackenzie displays a discarded plastic bag that was floating in the water near the Carrington Mangrove Boardwalk. Picture: Isaac McIntyreNewcastle City Council iscalling on the state government to implement a state-wide ban of single use plastic bags, after joining thenational‘Ban the Bag’ campaign.
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Greens councillor John Mackenzie has put his support behind the movement, and stated“the issue of plastic pollution is crucial in New South Wales”.

Cr Mackenzie pointed out New South Wales isthe last state in not to commit to a total ban on plastic bags.

“We’re in this extraordinary situation where all major states are committed to banning the bag–except New South Wales,” Cr John Mackenzie said. “Coles, Woolworths, Aldi …all have [also] committed to reducing their plastic consumption.”

“The problemis decades old, we’ve known for a long time about the impact of plastic pollution, particularly on our marine environment and the marine food chain. It’s a toxic legacy, and something that we’re leaving for future generations to clean up.”

Newcastle joins national ‘Ban the Bag’ campaign | PHOTOS, VIDEO LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

LITTERED: Plastic bags, cans and bottles cover the Carrington Mangroves, pictured here at high tide. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

TweetFacebookIt’s a toxic legacy, and something that we’re leaving for future generations to clean up.

Cr John Mackenzie

THE HERALD’S OPINION: Fighting Sydney’s giant footprint

AS our weekly Newcastle Herald columnist, Phillip O’Neill, observed on Monday, the state government has released a new Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan, althoughwith an absolute minimum of fanfare.
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Given that this document, currently in draft form, sets out the government’s planning priorities for regional NSW between now and 2056, it has the potential to be a vitally important initiative.But as it stands, it is little more than a compilation of wish-lists of every infrastructure project ever touted, but with very few of them –as Professor O’Neill pointed out –in the here and now. Perhaps that is inevitable in a document with a 40-year time frame, in a political realm where most governments are battling to see beyond their next visit to the polls. But strip away the rhetoric of Newcastle being a Global Gateway City –and the Central Coast and Greater Newcastle being the state’s “largest regional centres in 2056” –and what we find is a document dominated by the already massive and rapidly growing footprint of greater Sydney.

For all of the emphasis on regional growth, the key demographic assumptions underpinning the document reveal something entirely different.

The report puts greater Sydney’s population at 4.7 million in 2016, rising to 6.3 million in 2036 and 7.9 million in 2056. That’s an increase of 3.2 million people, or 68 per cent, over 40 years.

By comparison, greater Newcastle goes from 630,000 in 2016 to 850,000 in 2036 and 910,000 in 2056. That’s an increase of 280,000 people over 40 years, or less than one-tenth of the population increase envisaged for greater Sydney.

What this means is that for all of the talk about frustrated Sydneysiders making their way north to our more hospitable way of living –and it is happening –this isonly a tiny part of the overall population picture.

Many of us don’t want the region to change, and are happy with the way things are, but in a capitalist democracy our fortunes are tied to jobs and jobs growth, and employers go with the flow of the people, rather than against it.Yes, Newcastle is getting some attention from the government, and ourconstruction-riven CBD will soon enoughbe revealed anew, but we are fighting a global trend of people everywhere crowding into already dominant capital cities. Treading water is not progress.

ISSUE: 38,642.

Richmond re-sign premiership duo, Miles

Richmond have re-signed two of their premiership heroes, Jacob Townsend and Jason Castagna, while they have also locked in the services of VFL best and fairest winner Anthony Miles for next season.
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Townsend came from nowhere late in the season to be an important goalkicker for the Tigers while Castagna played every game in 2017 as one of Richmond’s diminutive but crucial high pressuring forwards.

Miles, 25, only played five AFL games in 2017 and had considered leaving the club to seek more opportunities.

However on Monday the club announced Miles had signed a one-year contract extension, along with Townsend and Castagna who signed for one and two more years respectively.

“Anthony is highly regarded by his teammates and the club as a whole,” Richmond’s general manager of football talent Dan Richardson said.

“His strong work ethic, contested ball-winning ability and commitment to the team are second to none. Despite limited opportunities in 2017, he is a proven AFL player, who will continue to make a significant contribution to the club.”

Miles, a ball-winning midfielder, was integral to the Richmond VFL side’s runner-up finish in 2017.

Townsend, who played for the GWS Giants between 2012 and 2015, didn’t play his first game in 2017 until round 22.

From that game to the grand final the 24-year-old kicked 16 goals, including two in the Tigers’ drought-breaking premiership triumph over Adelaide.

“Jacob played a significant role for the team in all our finals games, none more so than the grand final. He is a strong competitor and, having found his niche up forward, we expect he will continue to build on this in 2018 and beyond,” Richardson said.

Castagna, who was drafted by the Tigers from the Northern Knights in the 2015 rookie draft, kicked 26 goals in 2017 but more importantly was part of the club’s mosquito-fleet forward line that harassed and wrangled opposition backline’s into submission during the year – a trademark of Richmond’s premiership winning gameplan.

Anthony Miles in action for Richmond’s VFL team in the loss to Port Melbourne Photo: AAP

“We are really pleased with Jason’s on-going development and his work-rate, both on and off the track. His pressure around the ball is a highlight and his brand of footy was very much aligned to the team success this year,” Richardson said.

Wounded Knee siege leader dies

Dennis Banks was the militant Chippewa who founded the American Indian Movement in 1968 and led often-violent insurrections to protest the treatment of Native Americans including the famous Wounded Knee seige.
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He has died aged 80 following open-heart surgery.

Banks and his Oglala Sioux compatriot Russell Means were by the mid-1970s perhaps the best-known Native Americans since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who led the attack that crushed the cavalry forces of George Armstrong Custer at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.

American Indian activist Dennis Banks has died at the age of 80. Photo: AP

Banks, whose early life of poverty, alcoholism and alienation mirrored the fates of countless ancestors, led protests that caused mass disorder, shootouts, deaths and grievous injuries. He was jailed for burglary and convicted of riot and assault, and he became a fugitive for nine years. He found sanctuary in California and New York but finally gave up and was imprisoned for 14 months.

He once led a six-day takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, and mounted an armed 71-day occupation of the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Wounded Knee was the scene of the last major conflict of the American Indian Wars, in which 350 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by US troops in 1890.

While his protests won some government concessions and drew national attention and wide sympathy for the deplorable social and economic conditions of American Indians, Banks achieved few real improvements in the daily lives of millions of Native Americans, who live on reservations and in major cities and lag behind most fellow citizens in jobs, housing and education.

To admirers, Banks was a broad-chested champion of native pride. With dark, piercing eyes, high cheekbones, a jutting chin and long raven hair, he was a paladin who defied authority and, in an era crowded with civil rights protests, spoke for the nation’s oldest minority.

Banks, left, reads an offer by the US government seeking to effect an end to the Native American takeover of Wounded Knee. Photo: AP

To his critics, Banks was a self-promoter, grabbing headlines and becoming a darling of politically liberal Hollywood stars like Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando.

Banks and Means first won national attention for declaring a “Day of Mourning” for Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day in 1970. Their band seized the ship Mayflower II, a replica of the original in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and a televised confrontation between real Indians and costumed “Pilgrims” made the American Indian Movement leaders overnight heroes.

In 1973, after a white man killed an Indian in a saloon brawl and was charged not with murder but with involuntary manslaughter, Banks led 200 American Indian Movement protesters in a face-off with the police in Custer, South Dakota. It became a riot when the slain man’s mother was beaten by officers.

“We had reached a point in history where we could not tolerate the abuse any longer, where mothers could not tolerate the mistreatment that goes on on the reservations any longer, where they could not see another Indian youngster die,” he told the author Peter Matthiessen.

Weeks later, the siege that made Banks and Means famous began when 200 Oglala Lakota and A.I.M. followers with rifles and shotguns occupied Wounded Knee. About 300 United States marshals, FBI agents and other law-enforcement officials cordoned off the area touching off a 10-week battle of nerves and gunfire.

Amid wide news media coverage, the significance of the battlefield was not lost on many Americans. Dee Brown’s 1970 best-selling book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West had recently explored the record of massacres and atrocities against Native Americans on the expanding frontier, undermining one of the nation’s fondest myths.

Proclaiming a willingness to die for their cause, Banks and Means demanded the ousting of Richard Wilson, the elected leader of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, whom they called a corrupt white man’s stooge. The government refused. Shootings punctuated the days of stalemate, leaving wounded on both sides. Two Indians were killed, and a federal agent was shot and paralysed.

When it was over, Banks and Means were charged with assault and conspiracy. After a federal trial, with the defence raising historic and current Indian grievances, a judge dismissed the case for prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal wire taps and evidence that had been tampered with.

By then, Banks was a pre-eminent spokesman for Native Americans. He mediated armed conflicts between Indians and the authorities in various states. But his own legal troubles were not over.

Charged with riot and assault with a deadly weapon for his role in the 1973 melee in Custer, he was found guilty in 1975. Facing up to 15 years in prison, he jumped bail and fled to California.

With 1.4 million signatures on a petition supporting Banks, Governor Jerry Brown granted him asylum in 1976.

Deprived of California sanctuary when Governor Brown was succeeded by a Republican, George Deukmejian, in 1983, Banks returned to South Dakota voluntarily and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Paroled in 1985 after serving 14 months, he moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation to work as a drug addiction and alcoholism counsellor. He also turned his life around, embracing sobriety, giving talks on public service and organising cross-country events that he called Sacred Runs, which became popular among supporters of Native Americans in later years.

He is survived his wife Banks Rama and 19 children.

Robert D. McFaddenoct

New York Times