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Electricity Riskmeter Moves To Red Zone

Call For 10% Savings As Electricity Riskmeter Moves To Red Zone

The Winter Power Taskforce today increased its targeted level of electricity savings to 10 per cent, following continued low inflows to hydro lakes.

The taskforce called for consumers to reduce electricity use by five per cent during April. Over the past two weeks, consumers have responded with savings building to over three per cent.

Taskforce co-ordinator Patrick Strange said inflows to hydro lakes had remained at very low levels throughout April, contributing to a further decline in hydro storage levels.

"After closely assessing all available information on fuel availability, I believe the risk of potential electricity shortages this winter is high if we don't take further action. Accordingly, we have moved the electricity riskmeter into the red zone.

"At this point, I don't believe a five per cent savings target is sufficient and we are therefore increasing that target to 10 per cent.

"Obviously, this is an ambitious target and we know that we will need to encourage and advise consumers on how to make the sort of savings we need.

"To this end, we will commence a national public information campaign which will provide constant reminders to consumers about how they can reduce their electricity consumption over coming weeks."

Dr Strange said the first wave of television advertising to support this information campaign would debut this weekend. The advertising will be funded by the major electricity generator-retailers.

He said the taskforce has already commenced discussions with employer groups and the Council of Trade Unions on steps to encourage workplace energy savings. Additionally, the taskforce would be working with Local Government New Zealand to help drive savings in public buildings and local street lighting.

Dr Strange said the electricity generators had today agreed further steps to ensure all available thermal generation (gas, coal or oil-fired) runs to maximum capacity. "The reduction in remaining Maui gas reserves is a significant factor in this year's situation and the generators have been working urgently to arrange alternative coal, fuel oil and gas supplies for the winter." He said the 10 per cent savings target would apply until significant rainfall eased pressure on hydro lake levels. Latest statistics on electricity supply

* Year to date national inflows to hydro lakes were 5,035 GWh, only 70% of average. These inflows are consistent with a one-in-20 dry year.

* National hydro storage levels had decreased to 1,924 GWh by yesterday, 61 per cent of average for this time of year.

* Total electricity demand for the week ended yesterday (Sunday 27 April) was 643 GWh, compared with 686 GWh in the same period last year. (Demand is lower for this year because of the inclusion of Easter Monday when demand is typically low.)

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