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Meridian Energy calls for fuel supply disclosure

Meridian Energy calls for disclosure of fuel supplies

Meridian Energy has called for full disclosure by all electricity generators of their fuel supplies.

Chief Executive Keith Turner says markets need accurate information to make good decisions, but at the moment the electricity market only has full information about how much water is in the hydro lakes.

“Wholesalers, retailers – and consumers – need to know exactly how much thermal fuel – gas and coal – will be available for the upcoming winter.”

Dr Turner says it is significant that high spot prices began occurring in March, well before lake levels should be causing serious concern.

“We simply won’t know until May how much water we will have for the winter period. Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki are slightly below average for this time of year, so we are trying to conserve as much water as possible. But to do that we need the thermal plants to be generating flat-out 24 hours per day right now. And with spot prices as high as they are, that is what you would expect to happen.”

Dr Turner says recent media speculation regarding a shortage of gas and/or coal for the Huntly power station is creating unnecessary uncertainty in the electricity market.

“All the information about hydro storage levels is publicly available. It is time for other generators to share their fuel situation, so that all market participants can make fully-informed decisions about possible scenarios.”

Dr Turner says having a high proportion of electricity generated by hydro schemes usually results in low prices, but there needs to be sufficient thermal generation capacity to cope with dry conditions.

“There is no surprise in this. It has been part of the New Zealand energy scene for more than 40 years, and was the reason why Huntly was built in the first place. The surprise the market is adjusting to at the moment is the speculation about whether there is enough thermal fuel to go around.”

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