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Call for electricity retailers to break down bills

14 July 2004

Energy Trusts calls for electricity retailers to break down bills

New Zealand’s Energy Trusts are supporting calls for electricity retailers to fully itemise their bills so consumers can see where their costs are incurred.

The Energy Trusts of New Zealand (ETNZ) is an incorporated society representing trusts with shareholding interests in electricity lines businesses.

“Lines companies are tightly controlling their costs and the trusts are sick of the inference that lines charges are somehow behind energy price increases,” said Ken Gilligan, ETNZ Chairman.

Mr Gilligan, said electricity bills were failing to explain to consumers where price increases were coming from, and this had to change.

“We are calling on retailers to fully itemise their bills so that consumers can see how much they are paying for each part of the energy chain – generation, distribution or retail,” he said.

“Currently the ‘fixed daily charges’ which retailers are using on bills can be made up of any mix of retail and distribution charges. It is complex, ambiguous and very confusing.

“For more than three years we have been urging the Government to require retailers to break down their bills and it's now time something was done to make all parties accountable.”

Mr Gilligan said national electricity lines charges had actually decreased in real terms over the last five years, while the retail sector had increased its costs exponentially.

“At the moment consumers cannot tell what is behind their power bill and this is not good enough. Consumers have a right to see where their money is going and each part of the energy sector should be fully accountable for their own charges.”

Mr Gilligan said ETNZ’s drive for transparency in pricing from retailers was consistent with its efforts to secure better representation for consumers within the energy sector.

“ETNZ is trying to secure the establishment of a Consumer Advisory Group on the new Electricity Commission so that consumer issues and concerns, such as the way bills are constructed, can be advanced,” he said.

ENDS

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