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New Zealand Breaks Through Target 10%

WINTER POWER TASKFORCE

5 June 2003
MEDIA RELEASE

New Zealand Breaks Through Target 10%

The Winter Power Taskforce today praised New Zealanders for reaching the electricity savings target of 10 per cent.

Co-ordinator Patrick Strange said the 10 per cent savings target had always been a stretch and going over 10% yesterday (Wednesday) was the result of considerable effort by homes and businesses throughout the country.

“The response to our call for savings has been fantastic. We have seen the level of savings climb steadily over the past six weeks to reach 10.1 per cent for the 24 hours ended midnight last night (Wednesday 4 June).

“This savings effort has been a major factor in the recent improvement in the levels of hydro lakes.

“At the time we increased the savings target to 10 per cent in late April, the hydro lakes were at 61 per cent of average. This meant we only had a little over 1100 GWh of usable storage water left – a third of what we have when the lakes are full. Yesterday that had improved to 84 per cent of average, thanks to lower electricity demand and the recent rainfall.

“The latest three-month forecast by NIWA is predicting normal rainfall for the major hydro catchment regions, which is encouraging news.

“While we are not yet out of the woods, the situation is now better than a few weeks ago and we have therefore decided to wind back the electricity riskmeter a notch from the extreme red zone to the high amber zone.

“People can be assured that the risk of nationwide hot water cuts this winter has now receded.”

Dr Strange said that while the risk of cuts was less, it was important to remember that the country was only officially five days into winter.

“Winter still has a long way to go and our modelling shows there is still a chance of shortages later this winter if the snow melt is low and spring weather is dry. This would stretch our limited sources of thermal fuel,” he said.

Reduced access to Maui gas has been a significant factor in the potential shortages this winter.

“My job is to take a realistic but conservative approach and for this reason we’re asking people to continue to conserve electricity for a few more weeks until we can say with confidence that we have enough supply to meet all scenarios, and move that riskmeter back to where it should be.”

Dr Strange said the taskforce would reappraise the supply situation toward the end of this month: “Meantime, I would ask homes and businesses to keep up the good work and continue to save electricity.”

ENDS

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