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Authority to check retailers' reasons for higher prices

5 March 2014

Media release

Electricity Authority to check retailer claims about reasons for higher retail electricity prices

The Electricity Authority will be checking the claims electricity retailers are making about the reasons for their price increases for 2014.

A number of electricity retailers have claimed they are raising prices to offset higher transmission and distribution charges imposed on them, but the monopoly part of the sector (transmission and distribution companies) are claiming the price increases exceed the additional costs they’re imposing on retailers.

Authority Chief Executive Carl Hansen says, “It is unacceptable that different parts of the electricity industry blame each other for price increases. Our role as an independent regulator is to promote the long-term interests of electricity consumers, and this starts with consumers being given the facts about matters of significant interest to them.”

The Authority is currently consulting on a project to improve the quality of retail price information available, and the Authority’s Retail Advisory Group is working on a project to improve the transparency regarding consumer bills.

The results from the analysis of retailer claims will be fed into these work streams, and could shape the direction the Authority takes on these key areas of work.

“As required by the Electricity Industry Act 2010, the Authority relies on competition among retailers to discipline their pricing decisions. Retailers can set their prices to whatever they like. Our focus is on bringing transparency for consumers.”

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