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International Energy Agency’s recommendations a mixed bag

22 February 2017


International Energy Agency’s recommendations a mixed bag

The International Energy Agency’s recent review of New Zealand’s energy policies is a mixed bag according to Chair of the Energy Trusts of New Zealand, Karen Sherry.

“Too much of the focus on the latest IEA country review is on the tired old rhetoric that the organisations who keep our lights on would be more efficient if they were owned by someone disciplined by ‘real’ market forces, rather than elected trusts as customer caretakers,” says Ms Sherry.

“The reality is much different as we’ve experienced a number of times since the ill-fated Bradford reforms. We now have 28 electricity retailers but the market is dominated by large generator-retailers who have long been using retail customers as a hedge for generation expansion.

Ms Sherry believes that any review should be forward-looking and consider how energy systems are developing globally. “We’re seeing a movement toward community and privately owned networks which the current distribution trust model would be well-suited to.”

There are some positives in the IEA report, as all ETNZ members support the view that new distribution pricing arrangements are needed.

“Technologies such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles are creating new demands that do not fit well with the traditional ‘top-down’ pricing signals we get from the electricity market,” Ms Sherry says.


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