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Electricity Crisis – more to be done

13 June 2008.

Electricity Crisis – more to be done on the domestic demand side.

The New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA), is proposing that a range of measures be introduced to ensure that all users - domestic, commercial and industrial - can respond more equally to electricity shortages.

“Residential, as well as smaller commercial users, need better signals and a retail offer that encourages a demand response on their part along with the industrial sector. Simply looking to industry to make savings has a significant and often negative economic impact that might be avoided with the right signals that encourage a residential and commercial demand side response as well”, says Chief Executive John Walley.

In addition to more investment in generation and transmission, the Association is calling for:
 smart metering and wiring in residential homes, along with,
 configuration and remote switching to augment ripple control that allows for improved control of domestic and commercial loads.

Mr Walley says that reduced prices could be offered by electricity retailers to households in exchange for load control. Collectively, this would act as a smarter version of night rates and ripple control that are currently in place.

“More than half of the load is currently used by the residential and commercial sectors so significant electricity savings could be available given the right incentives. The result would be that large scale power users could share the burden as opposed to carrying it all”, said Mr. Walley.

“Smart metering and switching for domestic and commercial users would enable more imaginative retail offers from electricity companies and perhaps lower average prices closer to the average rates offered to industrial users if they were prepared give up some control and be exposed to price signals. A better sharing of the burden of the need to reduce demand would also benefit industrial users and help manage dry year shortages. As we continue to run generation and transmission closer to the limit, difficulties in dryer years will become more frequent and much more needs to be done on the demand side”.

“Hopefully the Electricity Commission will start to apply some pressure in this area”, says Mr. Walley.

NZMEA – the independent voice for manufacturers and exporters.


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