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Electricity crisis is getting worse

MAJOR ELECTRICITY USERS' GROUP

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

Electricity crisis is getting worse

”The spot electricity prices are getting worse, clearly indicating the electricity crisis is deepening. This is despite significant demand reductions by the manufacturing sector,” said Ralph Matthes, Executive Director of the Major Electricity Users’ Group (MEUG).

“Yesterday prices at Haywards averaged about 29 c/kWh. Last Wednesday they averaged 27 c/kWh. An average household pays about 7 c/kWh for the electricity portion of their power bill. The entire burden of these sharp price rises is falling on manufacturers stranded on the spot market.

“The Government has finally recognised there is a problem and announced this week that the longer term solutions will be considered by the Cabinet Infrastructure Group under Dr Cullen. The process of considering policy options needs to be robust, transparent and inclusive – we don’t want flip flop policy making or promotion of options by a few insiders.

“But addressing the underlying problems will take time – that affords no comfort to those suffering now because of the distortions in the market.

“The generators, through their market, are clearly saying they expect the likelihood of blackouts to be increasing. If this is not their view, then they must be price gouging. In either case the Government must take this signal from electricity suppliers very seriously and acknowledge we have a crisis right now, as well as dealing with the overall market design issue.

“MEUG repeats the request we made a week ago that the Government ask all consumers to start conserving electricity immediately and also to undertake an inquiry after the end of this quarter into possible gouging by SOE generators,” concluded Mr Matthes.

ENDS

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