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NZ electricity demand continues to run hot

New Zealand electricity demand continues to run hot

Electricity demand continues to grow strongly, with national demand over the three months ended June 30 up 4.9 percent compared with the same period two years ago, according to figures supplied by M-Co, the marketplace company.

“These figures further demonstrate the ongoing strong demand for energy that exists in New Zealand,” says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay.

National demand in April this year was 6.2% higher than the same period two years ago, in May it was up 3.3%, and in June 5.2%.

In the South Island, April demand was 6.5% higher than two years earlier, May demand rose by 3.4%, and June demand was 1.6% higher than in June 2002.

South Island demand over the three months ended June 30 was 3.8% higher than in the second quarter of 2002, and 8.7% higher than last year.

The figures have been calculated over two years because of the distortion caused by last year’s Target-10% power saving campaign, which suppressed demand in autumn and early winter.

For example, year-on-year demand growth (2004 compared with 2003) for the second quarter was 9.9%.

“The results would seem to show that although New Zealand households and businesses can conserve energy in a crisis, when the constraints are lifted demand continues to surge higher,” says Alan Seay.

High inflows into the hydro lakes, where total storage this week was around 128% of the average at this time of year, have allowed hydro generators to meet much of the increased demand this year.

“Demand growth rates of this rate simply mean that New Zealand’s energy ‘day of reckoning’ is going to happen earlier than forecast,” says Alan Seay.

“Demand growth, according to official forecasts, is supposed to average around 1.2% a year, but we haven’t seen a rate that low for some time. Meridian has been warning for some time that without significant new generation demand will equal available supply within a few years. It seems that may happen sooner rather than later, and would have serious economic and social implications for New Zealand.”

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