IN THE morning, Bruce Robertson and his family were facing a lawsuit from six state electricity giants. By early afternoon, they were fielding an apology.
Grid Australia, the peak body representing the nation’s $10 billion transmission industry, had threatened to sue the cattle farmer for defamation.
As an outspoken critic of the power companies, Robertson had exposed their inflated forecasts for electricity demand, and the ”gold-plating”, or excessive spending, which has been the driving force behind the rise in electricity bills.
After revelations about the lawsuit in the Fairfax press however, an outcry of public support for the farmer from the mid-north coast of NSW forced an embarrassing back-down.
”I’m still confused. One minute I’ve got a lawsuit on my hands, the next minute I’ve got an apology. What’s going on?” said Robertson.
The chairman of Grid Australia, Peter McIntyre, wrote to Robertson to ”sincerely apologise”. The threat of defamation proceedings had been withdrawn, he said, inviting Robertson to meet and discuss the issues.