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Electricity Crisis Avoidable; Review Needed

Media Release Friday, September 7th, 2001

The emergency power seminar in Auckland this morning attended by over 70 industry representatives heard the crisis was a) avoidable, and b) within the market's management capacity provided far more information is made available and much earlier than at present.

"While it appears the risks from power supply crisis are diminishing, the crisis over the price of power is continuing," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"It's clear that new mechanisms are needed in the electricity market to increase the responsiveness of the market and to ensure there is no repeat of the crisis again next year, or the year after.

"The presentations this morning showed, for example, that a five per cent power saving, when supply is short, can cut the spot price of power by at least 25 per cent. This type of information did not get through when it was needed.

"Other evidence presented showed that if more generation capacity from the thermal stations at Huntly and New Plymouth had been brought on stream far earlier this year, the worst aspects of the crisis could have been avoided.

"We are calling for a review of the electricity market to ensure the right sort of information is made widely known in real time, and acted upon."

Ends




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