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Input sought on proposed Gas Act changes

15 May 2019

A discussion document on potential amendments to the Gas Act 1992 that seeks to address specific issues and to ensure it is fit-for-purpose has been released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“We have identified that some targeted changes could be made to the Act in the short term. But we also want to take the opportunity to seek feedback on whether the Act may hinder the utilisation of emerging technologies, such as hydrogen.

“The Gas Act is primarily focused on the use of natural gas as a fuel, but it also regulates other gases such as LPG, biogas or hydrogen. We want to ensure the Gas Act supports the development of an emerging hydrogen industry as part of New Zealand’s transition to a net zero economy,” said Phillippa Fox, General Manager, Energy and Resource Markets.

“The Government is in the process of developing a vision for hydrogen and a green paper is due out shortly, so it is prudent to look at the regulation of low-emission technologies and fuels.”

The discussion document will also look into the suitability of the current maximum penalties in the regime and expanding the powers under the Act for information disclosure rules.

“The current maximum fine is $20,000 for failing to comply with a gas curtailment orders which is not in keeping with maximum penalties applicable under similar legislation.

“The Gas Act needs to support appropriate information disclosure, to allow the gas market and associated markets to function effectively and in the best interests of consumers.

These changes will support the work of the Gas Industry Company to improve information disclosure in the gas market.”

It is expected that legislation will be introduced to the House later this year.

Submissions on the discussion document close on 12 June 2019. The document can be found here

[ends]

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