Looking back to 1927 – Manilla and Tamworth Electricity Bulk Buy

An article from December6, 1927 from the Manilla Express (Available on Trove)

Full Article Text


By Geo. W. Stewart. M.I.E.E., A.M.I.E., (Aust,)

The Tamworth Municipal Council has the distinction of being not only the first to install Electric Street Lighting, but also of being one of the first Electricity Supply Undertakings in New

South Wales to supply a neigh boring municipality with electric ity in bulk. In 1920 the electricity supply in Tamworth was a comparative ly small concern, generating direct current at a voltage of 240-volts with a direct driven steam plant of 250 kW. capacity. The area which this plant was capable of supplying was very limited and, as the town forged ahead, it became evident to the aldermen that if they were to be in the position to meet the continually in creasing demand for electricity, they must take the matter seriously and lay themselves out to in stall a much larger plant. On the advice therefore, of their consulting engineers, Messrs A. C. P. Webb and Bur gess, of Sydney, it was decided to change the system from direct current to three-phase four-wire alternating current, and a new power house was located along

side the railway, and close to the main delivery pipe to the reser voir of the town water supply, so that as the water is pumped to the reservoir it can be diverted as required through the condenser, result ing in great economy in running costs. For the half year ending 30th June, 1927, the coal consumption was a fraction over 6lb per unit sold. The plant installed consisted of one new Thompson boiler and one Babcock and Wilcox boiler removed from the old station. Both boilers are fitted with chain grate stokers and super heaters, and are each capable of delivering 7,500 lbs of steam at 160lbs pressure with 150 degrees superheat; a surface condenser and two Bellis and Morcom vertical compound condensing en gines direct coupled to American General Electric alternators, each of 250 kilowatts capacity. These sets generate 3-phase alternating current at 3,300 volts and feed stepdown pole type sub stations at several convenient centres from which the electric ity is distributed on the 4 wire system at 415-240 volts. That the change is justified is in dicated by the great in crease in output, one sub-station alone (Lower Street) having now a greater output than the whole capacity of the old station. When the new plant was in stalled in 1922 there were approximately 1000 consumers connected to the mains; but in 1924 a further addition to the pant was necessary. The boiler plant was then increased by the installation of an additional Bab cock and Wilcox boiler of 7,900 lbs. steam capacity and 400 KW., Browett Lindley Cromption, compound vertical condensing generating set. The following figures covering the years 1922 to 1927 will give some idea of the rapid growth of this undertaking under the management of Mr V. C. Kable, the Town Clerk, and Mr. G. A. Dann, the Electrical Engineer: Year – Miles of Streets . No. of served consumers 1922 35 1,021 1923 40 1,425 1924 42 1,573 1925 57 1,774 1926 61 2,003 1927 (½ year) 62 2,283 Year Unsod units Revenue 1922 420,165 £11,332 1923 728,189 £13,724 1924 1,037,270 £17,038 1925 1,419,260 £20,510 1926 1,929,356 £24,435 1927 (½ yr). 1,269,143 £14,079 The power house is under the management of Mr Kable, senr., so that Mr. G. A. Dann, the electrical engineer.is not burdened with this department. He is therefore free to devote the whole of his time to attending to the reticulation system and the consumers. The neighboring town of Man-ila (28½ miles distant) gave a franchise to a private company some ten years ago, whose period of operation was due to expire this year. This Council was therefore faced with either hav ing to install a new and up-to-date plant themselves, or to obtain a supply of power in bulk from outside source. The town of Manilla consists of about 350 residences and shops and is a flourishing town. In the centre of a very progressive and wealthy district and there is every evidence of it growing to much larger dimensions, in the future. In between the towns are sever al small settlements and many

farms of comparatively small holdings, and at Sulcor, seven teen miles from Tamworth, the Sulphide Corporation have a limestone quarry, employing about sixty men. These possible outlets for pow er were approached with very satisfactory results, so much so, that agreements were signed and the Tamworth Council proceeded with the erection of a 33,000 volt high tension transmission line from their power house to Manilla. The expenditure involved in the scheme, however, has not end ed with the erection of a trans-mission line, as the increased demand of Tamworth together with the anticipated requirements of

the Manilla line indicate that the coming winter will provide a peak load approaching very close ly to the present capacity of the power house. In order to meet this increase the expenditure of an additional £25,000 has been authorised for new plant and consequent addi tions to the power house. The new plant will consist of two Babcock and Wilcox water tube boilers, each having a cap acity of 8,500lbs. of steam, fitted with chain grate stokers and sup erheaters, a 400 kW. Browett Lindley engine driving a B.T.H.

generator, and a new condenser of sufficient capacity to condense steam for both the 400 kW. sets, cooling water being obtained from a spray pond now being erected. The condenser and spray pond are being equipped by Messrs Alfred Snashall Lim ited. This plant is now in course of erection, and it is anticipated that it will be ready to be put in to operation about the middle of next year. One feature of interest in this new plant consists of a reinforced concrete stack, 129 feet high, 10 feet 2 inches diameter at the bot tom and 6ft 8inches at the top. The stack will be self supporting. It is being erected by the Weber Chimney Company at a cost of £1,200. The formulation of the whole system was in the hands of Messrs A. C. F. Webb and Bur gess, the Council’s consulting en gineers; who drew up the speci fications, called tenders and let contracts for the transmission line and switchgear, involving the expenditure of £15,000. The transmission line, with its switchgear has been designed for a maximum output of 500 kW distributed immediately, as fol lows:— Moore Creek (9m Tain.) . 25kW. Attunga (12m Tam.) . . . . 25k W. Sulcor (17m Tam.) . . . . lOOkW. Manilla (28m Tam.) . . . .lOOkW. The transmission line has been erected on 40 feet ironbark poles obtained from the North Coast district, and spaced approximate ly four chains apart. The copper consists of No 6 solid drawn wire, spaced triang ularly about 57 inches apart with three complete transposi tions of phases. Ohio Brass Company’s insulators, rated at 45,000 volts and having a dry

flash over voltage of 140,000 volts and a wet flash over voltage of 90,000 volts, have been used throughout ; one insulator being attached to a fitting on the pole top and the pole and the other two being accommodated on 3 inch angle cross arms, heavily galvanised. The pole iron-work is of simple yet neat design, as shown in Fig. 1. The strain in sulators are disc type three units in line, the complete line having a dry flash over voltage of 200, 000 volts, and a wet flash over voltage of 130,000 volts. The poles and transmission line were erected by Mr J. White, of Tam worth. Stations — Three main sub stations have been supplied and erected by Messrs Electrical Manufactures Limited, of Syd ney, who have equipped the var ious structures with their stand ard appar[a]tus both on the H.T., 33,000 volts side and on the 3,300 volt and 415/240 volt L.T., sides. The tower structure at Tam worth is of steel and is fitted on the primary side with two 3,300 volt iron clad oil switches, isolat ing switch and “Essantee” chemical fuse and choke coil-ar rester, combinations. Two 33,000 volt three phase “Essantee” pole-top section switches have been installed at desirable places; so that it is pos sible to maintain a supply on portion of the line when atten tion is needed at other parts. The step-down stations at Sul cor and Manilla have been con structed on wood-poles. These are equipped with “Essantee” isolat ing switches, air-break switches and chemical fuses similar to those at Tamworth. Each substation is protected by lightning arresters. At Sulcor, one 100 kVA., 33,000 to 415/240 Ferranti transformer, and at Manilla two sets of similar equipment have been installed. In a small house, under each sub-station structure the L.T.

switchgear and metering equip ment have been placed. The line and substation equip ment when completed, were tested up to 40,000 volts and the supply switched on to Manilla on the 4th October, 1927. The anticipated revenue from the sale of current sold to con sumers by the Tamworth Council at Moore Creek, Attunga, and Sulcor amounts to £1,500 per an num, and from Manilla, for bulk supply, £2,000 per annum.

The rates to be charged are as follows: — Bulk Supply — Line charge £850 per annum, Maximum De mand £6 per kV.A., per annum plus a charge for electricity con sumed varying from 1.1d to 1½d per unit. Retail Charges — Lighting 11d., Domestic power 3½d., industrial power from 3d to 2.1d per unit. Both the consulting engineers and the contractors are to be con gratulated on the design and ex ecution of this work which has been engineered so successfully. The Tamworth Council also de serve congratulation on their boldness in embarking on a scheme of this magnitude and in putting a good example to other municipalities who are similarly placed.


How does Energy Locals and Manilla Solar keep their prices down?

Energy Locals is able to deliver the price cuts for two reasons. Firstly, it deliberately locked in its wholesale prices until 1 July 2018.

Energy Locals also has a different business model whereby customers are charged a per month service fee, rather than making margins on the amount of energy sold.

How to understand my bill?

The electricity tariff has two parts

  • daily supply charge, and
  • usage charge.

The daily supply charge is usually a fixed amount charged in cents per day. This is the cost of getting electricity or gas to your place, even if you don’t use any. The usage charge is how much energy you use and is usually charge in cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh).

There are three main types of electricity tariffs:

  • single rate
  • time of use (including flexible pricing), and
  • controlled load.

The type of available to you depends on the type of metering arrangement you have at your home or business. And what type of tariff is available in your area. Have a look at the type of tariff you are on now by looking at your latest bill.

Single rate

With single rate tariff or anytime offers there are no peak or off-peak periods. This means that you pay the same rate whatever time of day you use energy.

Time of use

A time of use tariff means that electricity costs different prices at different times of the day.

  • Peak—electricity costs the most. Peak rates usually apply in the evening on Monday to Friday.
  • Off-peak—electricity is cheapest. Off-peak rates usually apply overnight on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Shoulder—electricity costs a bit less than peak. Shoulder rates usually apply in between peak and off-peak periods.

Controlled load tariffs

For some appliances you can be charged a controlled load tariff, like electric hot water systems. This means that the retailer charges a rate just for that appliance and the energy it uses. Often that appliance has its own meter. It is usually only for appliances that run overnight or in off-peak times. So controlled load rates are usually lower.

Find out more about Tariff



How does Energy Locals stack up against other providers?

We have compared the prices for Time of Use and controlled load tariff for the Tamworth/ Manilla region.  As you can see Manilla Solar and Energy Locals is a good deal.


But see for yourself go to – www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/

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Back to the future?

On 9 November 1888, Tamworth had the first street lights in the southern hemisphere powered by a  power station in Peel Street that was owned and operated by the PCCC  (Peel Cunningham County Council) who was the local council at the time.


We think it makes sense that locals have more control over things that matter and that together we can build something great.  Manilla Solar is a local retail energy brand that offers people in the local community better energy options.

How to beat the price rises?

Origin, EnergyAustralia and AGL haveall announced significant price increases. Electricity tariffs for both business and residential customers in New South Wales will soar by more than 15 per cent. The price rise took effect from 1 July 2017.

Most people are not aware that their energy rates have increased and its likely to be a shock for most people in the community when the next bill comes around.

Exactly how much your bill will increase depends on the type of tariff you are on, how much energy you use and your current provider. Shopping around is the best way to find a good deal for you and it could end up saving you a lot of money.

Energy Locals is standing out from the pack by decreasing electricity prices for households in NSW by 2.1 per cent and 2.6 per cent for businesses in NSW. Energy Locals is also increasing its solar feed-in-tariff to 12.87 cents a kilowatt hour in NSW.


Info Day – New direction for Solar Project


Manilla Community Renewable inc. has entered into a  partnership with  Energy Locals.

This allows our group to become an energy retailer and build a renewable energy company in Manilla that links both the customer and the investor.

The first step is to have electricity customers. When we have strong community support, we will work with Energy locals and Solar Manufacturers YingLi to create the community owned solar farm. Energy Locals will give 50% of the profits to Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc. to support the solar farm project.

We are encouraging all members of the Manilla Community to attend our info day and to bring along their electricity bill to compare what they are currently paying with Energy Local’s rates

Energy Locals is sending their Community Partnerships Coordinator, Angela Johnstone to speak with us on the 15th. Angela spent a year completing year 8 in Manilla, so she is familiar with our town.

Energy Locals is working with a reputable Solar Panel Manufacturer – Yingli – the General Manager of Yingli – Mark Kibby will be attending the information day to meet the community and see how this project can work.

Both Angela and Mark are coming to Manilla to meet our community and answer any questions you may have, so please come along and be part of something great for our town.


Emma Stilts Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc.
Angela Johnstone – Energy locals
Mark Kibby – Yingli

Place: Manilla Small Town Hall

Time: 12 noon Free BBQ, Tea and Coffee thanks for Manilla CWA.

Your opportunity to have your say about the Solar Farm project.
Lets come together and do something great for our community!

RSVP here 

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Feasibility study launched


Hon. Mark Speakman, Emma Stilts, Hon. Kevin anderson and Grant christopherson

Hon. Mark Speakman (Minister for Office of Environment & Heritage), Emma Stilts (MCRE) , Hon. Kevin Anderson (Member for Tamworth) and Grant Christopherson (Office of Environment & Heritage)

A major feasibility study exploring renewable energy for the North West has earmarked Manilla and Tamworth as prime locations for multi-million dollar environmental investment.

The $46K dollar study found that Manilla has the ideal business model and climactic conditions to develop a community funded solar farm and a biodigester for Tamworth – with its large chicken, abattoir and other major industry is an ideal location to house an anaerobic digester – a large environmental plant that converts otherwise harmful industrial waste into valuable energy, animal foods and bio-char..

Our group was honored to have Hon. Mark Speakman. Minister for Office for Environment and Heritage and our local member for Tamworth Hon. Kevin Anderson in attendance to officially launch the study. As well as Councillors Helen Tickle and Jim Maxwell from Tamworth Regional Council.

The feasibility study, backed by Tamworth Regional Council, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, local MP Kevin Anderson and is the vision of Manilla Community Renewable Energy Company and Manilla Country Women’s Association and was funded by the NSW Government Office of Environment and Hertitage.

The study assessed a unique community owned solar farm for Manilla – a structure where the community is invited to invest in the project to raise the funds required to build it. When the farm is built, providing energy and making money, investors are rewarded financially and the community wins as well with cheaper power.

President of Manilla Renewable Community Energy Company, Emma Stilts says the success of the study paves the way solar partners and the community to become involved in the project.

“We now know this is a viable solar model where Manilla can benefit from cheaper power and investment. The funds made from this project will be significant and will come straight back to Manilla.

“Under this model local investors will pay for the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of the solar farm. This means when the farm is operational, energy becomes a local business instead of an economic leakage.

“We’ll now start developing business partnerships with Manilla Renewable Community Energy Inc. and encourage community support and investment in the project,” said Ms Stilts.

Manilla Country Women’s Association President, Michelle Eggins says we have an opportunity to establish Manilla as model of sustainable regional development.
“Solar energy is tried, tested and dependable. With this clever planning we are looking beyond our lifetime and setting the stage for Manilla to be financially sound well into the future”, she said.

In Tamworth, Manilla Community Renewable Company will now source business partners establish one of the first anaerobic bio-digesters in regional NSW.
Using industrial waste, the plant, will have the ability to generate electricity, gas or heat, produce fertiliser, fish food or bio-char.

Ms Stilts said ‘The study shows that Tamworth’s major industrial sector produces more than enough waste from abattoirs, feedlots, intensive farming, human waste and other biodegradable products to establish an anaerobic bio-digester.
‘This project will require major investment and support from industry but would have far-reaching financial gains and massive environmental benefits,’ she said.

Both levels of government welcomed and encouraged the project saying there is a clear opportunity for agricultural waste to be put to better use.

In relation to local biohub opportunities – Agricultural residues such as straws, manures, effluents currently present us with waste disposal costs or undervalued residues.  The possible bio-chars and energy products that are possible through this project represent a market value of some $200-$300 per tonne – wheat itself is only fetching some $250 per tonne.

There is lasting and proven value in generating strong income from agricultural and forestry residues. If this were adopted across the whole Australian agriculture and forestry sector it could double gross agricultural output from the same acreage.

Work will start immediately in sourcing continued and new business partnerships and community support for these projects. Interested parties can contact Manilla Community Renewable Inc.


MCRE Crew – Michelle Eggins, Margaret Hurle, Emma Stilts and Robin Gunning

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Manilla members at Bingara

Professor Dr Peter Heck talking to Macre members Dennis Forrest, Robin Gunning and Emma Stilts, and to speaker Mark Glover, second from right.

Professor Dr Peter Heck talking to Macre members Dennis Forrest, Robin Gunning and Emma Stilts, and to speaker Mark Glover, second from right.

The vision of a community with little need for imported energy was presented to members of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy group in Bingara last week.

Gwydir Shire Council hosted a forum headed by German ecological engineer Professor Dr Peter Heck, who explained the working of his university which generates all its own energy needs and discards minimal waste.

He showed photographs of small German farms with bio-digesters to collect methane which can be used as a fuel or to generate electricity, or can be upgraded for use in vehicle engines.

Other speakers concentrated on the achievements of solar generation and the potential for using carbon as a soil conditioner.

Mark Glover of Renewed Carbon Co said that among woody weeds yielding a range of useful oils, cypress regrowth provides a chemical for termite-proofing.

Gwydir Shire is pursuing the development of what they call a circular economy, with minimal energy inputs from outside, and minimal money leaving the community.

Chair of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy Co. Emma Stilts said the information presented was absorbing and gave members a lot to think about.

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Manilla Wins Grant $46k for Community Energy Study


It is with great excitement we can announce that Manilla Community Renewable Energy inc. has been successful in achieving $46,000 in funding for a feasibility study thanks to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.  The funds are part of the Growing Community Energy scheme.

Our group will use the money to commission a feasibility study outlining how they can make the dream of a community owned solar farm and biodigester a reality.

The core component of the project is establishing a solar farm from which energy-intensive industries can purchase electricity. The concept was borne out of her desire to provide a reliable and cost-effective alternative to high-emission fossil fuels, such as coal and gas.

The residents, who are in the process of forming their own company, are hosting a meeting tomorrow for anyone interested in being part of the project.

Ms Stilts said locals could buy shares in the company, with the capital used to build the solar farm, and then receive a return on their investment.

“We’re hoping for a large turnout of people from Manilla, Tamworth and other areas in the region who are interested in getting involved in the renewable energy project,” she said.

Ms Stilts said the “missing link” in the fledgling scheme was securing a business partner, such as a dairy, chicken farm or water treatment plant, to purchase the electricity.

“There’s a lot of potential partners, and once this builds momentum the opportunities will become clearer to those businesses,” she said. “The feasibility study will work out how the economics of everything will work and how many investors we need.”

The meeting will take place at the Royal Hotel in Manilla from noon tomorrow.


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