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EG Board announcement unhelpful and unwelcome

MAJOR ELECTRICITY USERS' GROUP

Thursday, 27th March 2003. For Immediate release.
Media release by the Major Electricity Users’ Group (MEUG)

Electricity Governance Board announcement unhelpful and unwelcome when we have an electricity crisis

”The decision by the Electricity Governance Establishment Committee (EGEC) to force a vote on the proposed electricity market Rulebook is unhelpful and unwelcome when we have an electricity crisis,” said Ralph Matthes, Executive Director of MEUG.

“Here we have a generator dominated organisation trying to further entrench its dominance of the electricity market when New Zealand is suffering an electricity crisis that generators have contributed to. This is why MEUG has continued to oppose the EGEC process and will continue to do so. It is not in the interests of any New Zealand consumer that the Rulebook be implemented.

“This referendum is an unnecessary distraction from the real issues underlying the current electricity crisis – the lack of proper planning to ensure thermal generation through this winter, insufficient new generation capacity in the next 2-3 years and possible price gouging by generators.

“It is a pity some of the $7 million spent on the tortuous EGEC process over the last few years was not directed at these more productive pursuits and mitigating the market power of generators.

“MEUG welcomes the Government’s announcement this week to review the electricity market structure. Also the Rulebook will need to go back to the Commerce Commission for another round of consultation on rule changes since last December. The referendum should be postponed until those processes are completed.

“In the interim the best governance arrangement is through the Grid Security Committee (GSC) that all parties have agreed is best placed to manage the current crisis through a Winter Power Task Force. The GSC is the preferred model for any pan-industry Rulebook and governance arrangement, not the EGEC model.

“MEUG estimates the country is already losing over $2 million of manufacturing sales per week due to this power crisis. Lets focus on the power crisis and not be diverted by the EGEC Rulebook,” concluded Mr Matthes.

Notes for the media: Mr Matthes is one of two CC93 (Consumer Coalition on Energy) representatives on EGEC.

The Grid Security Committee is the governance entity for MACQS, an arrangement authorised by the Commerce Commission. The GSC includes 3 consumer representatives for the household, commercial and industrial sectors. MEUG represents the industrial sector.

ENDS

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