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Guarantees Of Cheaper Power Applauded

The electricity reform proposals present a strong challenge to the industry, either for it to respond, or be regulated, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"Our politicians have been promising lower power costs for some years. At last Minister Hodgson is prepared to guarantee residential consumers will have cheaper power," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"We invite the Minister to extend the guarantee to smaller business consumers as well.

"The introduction of real time wholesale pricing will enable the power retail companies and large users recognise and respond more adeptly to market prices.

"An Ombudsman for hearing consumer complaints is positive given the monopoly character of the line businesses.

"The big question we are asking is, why did the changes have to take so long?

"The difference between what the previous minister, Max Bradford, brought to Parliament well over a year ago, and what Minster Hodgson is presenting now, is miniscule.

"We could have had virtually the same outcome a year ago if Labour had then supported the Bradford proposals.

"The Hodgson approach is more electricity industry friendly than Bradford's.

He is threatening to regulate in the event of bad behaviour by the industry whereas Bradford was intent on regulating first, with the offer to lift the regulations if the industry began acting in its customers' interests.

"Business needs to see far more urgency in Government. New Zealanders see through the charade that is too often passed off as debate over substantial political differences.

Further comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (bus) 025 982 024

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