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Reform debate to dominate ETNZ conference agenda

Reform debate to dominate ETNZ conference agenda

Auckland – Debate on proposed reforms and funding plans outlined by the government will lead discussions at the Electricity Trusts of New Zealand (ETNZ) annual conference in Wellington next week.

ETNZ chairperson, Ken Gilligan says the proposed industry “reforms” are not necessarily in the best interest of New Zealand energy consumers.

“The government is in the process of making crucial decisions that will impact on power consumers for years to come, and their decisions need to be debated open and honestly,” said Mr Gilligan.

“So far we have seen that the government intends to hit consumers in the pocket with an extra charge to fund its proposals, but there has not been enough light shed on whether the government is looking at the most appropriate way to fund changes, and whether that money will be wisely spent in terms of ensuring the ongoing stability of the energy network.”

Mr Gilligan said the lines companies that are members of the ETNZ have a direct interest in their local communities and should be viewed as potential future investors in both local generation facilities and/or retail activities.

“ETNZ members will be part of the long-term solution to New Zealand’s future energy needs,” he said.

The conference brings together New Zealand’s 23 consumer energy trusts, representing the interest of most energy users in New Zealand. A high-quality line up of government and industry officials will address this year’s conference including associate minister of finance, Hon David Cunliffe, Hon Bill English, Contact Energy CEO Steve Barrett, PowerCo director James Ogden and parliamentary commissioner for the environment, Dr J. Morgan Williams.

“This year’s conference is designed to inform trustees about what is going on in the industry and how the different sectors feel and understand about what is happening,” Mr Gilligan said.

Electricity trusts are interested to understand exactly how the new electricity commission is being funded, and how this will impact the development of new reserve generation plant in New Zealand, and the introduction of a retroactive levy on the industry.

Discussions are already underway with industry parties, where the ETNZ has clearly outlined its position that lines companies should not be compelled to support the energy market’s support processes.

The ETNZ Spring Conference will take place in Wellington at the James Cook Hotel, September 11 and 12, 2003.

About the ETNZ

The Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc (ETNZ) is an incorporated society of energy trusts, the majority of which hold shares in companies which operate Electricity Networks (Lines Businesses). ETNZ has twenty-six member trusts. Most ETNZ member trusts hold shares in companies that acquired the assets of local community owned power companies, or Power Boards. Those shares are held on behalf of beneficiaries who are, in the main, local electricity consumers.

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