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Electricity package thoroughly endorsed

Electricity package thoroughly endorsed

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) has welcomed today's announcement by Government setting up a new Electricity Commission to secure reserve generation capacity.

"The announcement today covers off many of the things we have been recommending over the last three years," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"We thoroughly endorse in principle these comprehensive Government proposals.

"We made recommendations along these lines to Energy Minister Pete Hodgson three years ago but at the time they were rejected.

"The crisis we are facing this year is squarely Government's responsibility as it did not respond to the policy deficit identified in 2001.

"Apart from the announcement that reserve capacity for dry years will be made available, we are particularly pleased to see the new Commission empowered for:

* requiring generators to offer long term hedge contracts;

* modelling and forecasting of power supply and demand;

* deciding electricity transmission pricing to guarantee new investment in transmission takes place;

* establishing a secondary market for power supply to re-route power contracted for but not needed.

"We're also pleased to see small generation projects will no longer face prohibitive connection costs.

"It's a shame the gestation of this package has taken several years and led to businesses deferring investment and losing production. The signal business has taken from the electricity crisis is that Government not really committed to jobs and growth.

"We hope Government will learn from the experience that business, as a key customer group of Government, is keen to contribute to developing policies that work for the whole country."

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