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Meridian Energy reduces generation to manage lakes

Media Release
For immediate release Tuesday June 26 2001

Meridian Energy reduces generation to manage hydro lakes

Meridian Energy is now generating only about 23 percent of the national power supply compared with its usual 32-35 percent, to help protect against the chance of electricity shortages later in the winter.

Hydro inflows to its main storage lakes have been badly affected by the widespread autumn drought, with Lake Tekapo receiving only 58 percent of normal inflows for this time of year.

Meridian Chief Executive Keith Turner says despite the rain in the weekend, which raised lake storage a little, lakes Tekapo and Pukaki are both less than half full, which is low for the time of year. Meridian manages approximately 75 percent of New Zealand’s hydro storage assets.

“Prudent use of water is paramount in that we now have the opportunity to manage what water we do have to avoid shortages. As New Zealand learned in 1992, you can’t do that when you’ve run out.”

He says suggestions that Meridian has been forcing wholesale prices up for its own ends are simply not supported by the facts.

“We are matching our generation to a level that just covers the hedge contracts we have in place – we are not benefiting at all from the high levels on the spot market,” he said.

“The only electricity we are selling now is at fixed prices that were set well before this winter’s water shortages became apparent.

“Our objective and our mandate is to ensure that the generating resources that we manage are used responsibly.”

ENDS

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