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Alex Simmons

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Alex Simmons last won the day on January 4

Alex Simmons had the most liked content!

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About Alex Simmons

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    Transitions Legend!

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  • Location
    Bellingen, NSW

Previous Fields

  • Year of first Tri race?
    1900

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  1. I'd suggest not posting up his videos or watching them. It only drives traffic which is currency/oxygen in the world of social media.
  2. True, I have been on both ends of the insurance experience spectrum. Your experience clearly sucked. Guess who funded the opposition during my 8 year legal battle through the NSW court system? What should have cost the system well under a million bucks ended up costing the system several million bucks in legal fees alone. Yet I've also experienced good help via insurance for income support and medical coverage.
  3. My experience with my shed was good. The make safe happened quickly, the quote was done professionally and was fair and reasonable, and the insurance company's own in-house assessor also visited to check on and assess the damage themselves and approve the quote. In the end I chose not to have their nominated builder do the repair work and instead to take the money and get the guy who originally did the work for me. This meant I could make some choices with the repair, save money on some aspects to improve others which I felt resulted in a safer and more robust shed. Savings: I decided not to recreate the original truss design which would have been an expensive custom job and instead use standard trusses, as well as not replace some of the wiring and lighting that wasn't critical. Improvements: I used those savings to add extra guttering and drainage to reduce the likelihood of future water damage, and to remove a threatening tree.
  4. Not all insurance is run as a for profit model. e.g. the NDIA, Medicare and some of the not for profit health insurance funds.
  5. It need not be, but that's getting a little OT I guess. I left the city to escape much of what I think makes it worse, but that takes me closer to the bush. We won't flood as we are up on a hill side but not one that will ever experience a land slide (our local town can and has flooded though) but we can suffer storm damage like anyone anywhere. Just before Christmas 2018 a violent 10-min storm cell blew through and three large trees came down on our block, one scored a direct hit on my newly finished shed. Fortunately it was the outdoor end of the shed and not the mancave end. Insurance covered the rebuild. GIO (Suncorp) in our case and they were quite good in response. A lot of local homes experienced severe damage that night. I've also done a fair bit to reduce such risks - a lot of resources spent on water/drainage management and I have removed about 10 large trees that in my opinion represented too much of a risk to buildings. This one wasn't even on my radar! I can see at some stage we'll also invest in some additional fire protection, e.g. extra water storage and sprinkler systems driven by special purpose water pumps.
  6. We recently completed building a granny flat on our property so I called our insurer to upgrade the coverage to reflect having an extra dwelling. Before confirming the upgrade the insurer had to check whether or not they were actually going to offer the upgrade at all. Turns out if I happened to have been in a neighbouring postcode, they were going to refuse to provide the coverage because they had determined certain areas to be at current risk. I understand them not accepting insurance policies from those who are pretty sure they are about to get hammered by a fire/flood/cyclone but I'm sure plenty would have been in an insurance limbo. Some talk about those who choose to live in areas of greater threat. Well this includes a large proportion of coastal property in Australia due to coastal erosion and the increasing frequency and severity of storm events, all property remotely near floodplains and waterways (e.g. Brisbane and just about every inland town in Australia) and anything within several km of any sort of bushland (which covers entire suburbs and large sections of many cities like Sydney and Canberra - the Canberra fires in 2003 burned down homes which were many km from any bush/forest). And where do we build most of our new homes? In the outer fringes of course because that's where prices are lower and land is available. I suppose you can buy an apartment to save some money but heck, who'd insure one of those given the state of building quality in that sector? People also have life circumstances which change and are not always in a position to just sell up and leave (or are renters and access to alternatives are not so easy to find). Moving is expensive and disruptive, kids changing schools, further away from employment or transport services, greater commute times and so on doesn't always make a cheaper home cheaper. Separated parents still want to be reasonably close to their children. Domestic abuse sufferers, and so on. Many are unfortunately less capable of understanding how to structure and finance such things, or lost employment and need to find ways to cut back just to survive. We are talking about a large % of the population, and insurance is going to become increasingly expensive and/or unavailable for large parts of our nation. Yep some dolts deliberately decide to under insure and are fully aware of the consequences of their choices but it's not a binary question, rather it's a spectrum.
  7. Alex Simmons

    Fires

    Just so I'm clear, can you define what you mean by "politics". Is not a discussion about fire management practices and resources a reasonable one in a thread about fires?
  8. Alex Simmons

    Fires

    I never said anything about which side of politics my statement applies (indeed it's apolitical), it was a comment about resource allocation in general that also applies to how we manage/mitigate fire threats. And I use my real name. So unless you're a dead performance artist, I've no idea who you are. Who's hiding? This is a thread about the fires, I think reasonable discussion about how they are managed is OK. Performing sufficient hazard reduction is a function of weather opportunity (time windows are smaller now due to the climate) and resources (which ultimately are decisions made by politicians who set the budget allocations).
  9. Our FIT has just dropped by 2.5c/kWh to 10c/kWh and now it is less than our controlled load by 1.1c/kWh. It's not enough to warrant any such change in how we heat water. Hot water heating cost us $208 in 2019. Therein lies the problem for us when considering alternative water heating options, the amount we can save per year is limited. Dropping the effective tariff by 1.1c/kWh by using a solar power diversion device can only save us at most $27/year, and it would be less than that because the heater will still need to supplement from grid power occasionally, to cover the occasions solar PV isn't sufficient (e.g. on rainy winter days, or when our air con is sucking most of the juice during peak summer). Indeed if just 9% of our hot water heating came from supplemental off-peak grid power then we'd be no better off. Just 4% if is used shoulder rates. So, dropping $800+ on something that will save at best a handful of bucks a year makes no sense. Similarly when it comes to changing to a heat pump hot water system. That might save us say $150/year at best, for something that costs a few grand more than a regular electric HW tank. It'd be much better from an energy efficiency and environmental perspective though. I still have the option to move to AGL's plan with a 2-year fixed FIT of 21c/kWh, however their import tariffs are not fixed. With EnergyAustralia my import tariffs are fixed for 2 years but FIT can be changed. To be fair, the average annual wholesale rate for FIT in my area is ~10c/kWh, so it's a fair rate. AGL & Origin make up for the generous FIT by having very high import tariffs. Great if you have low consumption and export a large majority of production. Origin also have a similar high FIT tariff structure to AGL but their time of use periods are different which makes their plan less attractive.
  10. Alex Simmons

    Fires

    Cost shifting of services from public sector to the public via charities has been going on for many years. It's a feature of economic policies. We now have towns that a relying on charities to pay to bring in water supplies. Same for underfunded schools, health and aged care support and assistance for vulnerable people from all walks of life.
  11. It's a bit of a tricky balance. Especially now as your new FIT is probably higher than your off-peak tariff, you may well be better leaving it as is. Also depends on type of water heater you use. If it's a standard resistive element, then using solar PV diversion may need a change of heating element to a lower power unit (e.g. from ~3kW to 1.5kW), to reduce the risk of having to supplement with grid power at daytime rates. It depends on the amount of time you expect to have excess PV power above 3kW. In summer you probably have a decent window of time, enough to heat the water but in winter you may find it requires quite a decent supplement of grid import. A lower power element of course needs longer to heat the water but is less likely to need grid power to supplement the demand. Automated PV diversion systems are expensive and unlikely to ever pay for themselves compared with using a simple timer (and accepting that occasionally you'll draw some power from the grid).
  12. Alex Simmons

    Fires

    I'm just back from Ballarat after one of my volunteer cycling gigs (driving Chief Commissaire in the races). It was at least good the weather was mild and Buninyong and surrounds were not under serious fire threat (it certainly has been in previous years). Glad I didn't drive down though as the fires threatened to block major roads en route. As to the above, I agree it's unfortunate that Police resources will be (have been) diverted for this and some consideration by protesters is warranted, but are we OK that Police resources are also diverted for things like fireworks displays, the cricket, and a whole range of other stuff (even bike races)? Is conducting a lawful public gathering/protest any worse? I'm not supportive of their timing, just posing the question and pointing out it's not a black and white thing. I'm scheduled to head back to Victoria in a few weeks for the Herald Sun Tour however the race route this year is centred around the Victorian Alpine region which has also had significant devastation and an ongoing fire threat and so there is a strong prospect the race may be cancelled as a result. Find out later this week I think. I been thinking about my volunteer commitments, I will see out my current ones and then consider how in future I may allocate that time.
  13. Yes, I'll be doing an analysis as well. That 2c/kWh change would add about $200/year to the bill if we have the same consumption and production patterns as the past 12 months. However, our consumption (and self consumption of solar PV) will rise this year as we have added another dwelling to the property with a sole occupant. So while AGL's better FIT is appealing, the risk of the higher peak rates when I know our consumption will increase (and export drop) may counteract that. Origin also have a similar high FIT plan but in my area their time of use periods are different and as a result it's somewhat less favourable.
  14. Alex Simmons

    Fires

    I'm just back from Ballarat after one of my volunteer cycling gigs (driving Chief Commissaire in the races). It was at least good the weather was mild and Buninyong and surrounds were not under serious fire threat (it certainly has been in previous years). Glad I didn't drive down though as the fires threatened to block major roads en route. As to the above, I agree it's unfortunate that Police resources will be (have been) diverted for this and some consideration by protesters is warranted, but are we OK that Police resources are also diverted for things like fireworks displays, the cricket, and a whole range of other stuff (even bike races)? Is conducting a lawful public gathering/protest any worse? I'm not supportive of their timing, just posing the question and pointing out it's not a black and white thing. I'm scheduled to head back to Victoria in a few weeks for the Herald Sun Tour however the race route this year is centred around the Victorian Alpine region which has also had significant devastation and an ongoing fire threat and so there is a strong prospect the race may be cancelled as a result. Find out later this week I think. I been thinking about my volunteer commitments, I will see out my current ones and then consider how in future I may allocate that time.
  15. If it's *all* you did on a bike I'd agree, especially if cycling hasn't been a big part of your athletic life. But if it enables you to execute more hours improving your fitness, then the metabolic gains are definitely worth it compared with not doing any cycling work. Just make sure you also get sufficient outdoor ride time for the neuromuscular, skill and execution development aspects.
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