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Energy projections unacceptable

Pansy Wong, MP
Opposition Energy Spokesperson
11 February 2000

Energy projections unacceptable

The projections on energy prices in the just released Ministry of Commerce Energy Outlook publication are not acceptable, says National's Energy Spokeswoman, Pansy Wong.

"Under the Ministry's baseline scenario, and assuming energy markets work efficiently, the prices of electricity along with other fuels to end consumers are projected to stay at current levels in real terms.

"This finding does not equate with the recently released Ernst and Young report. That report notes that the average level of potential distribution line charge reductions resulting from their analysis is 10%. When that is fully passed on to end consumers, it would represent a reduction in electricity charges of at least $70 million per annum.

"Pete Hodgson must not accept his Ministry's report. It is more proof, if any more were needed, that the only way to get lower prices for consumers is to regulate the line companies, who are either inefficient or refusing to pass on their savings to consumers, due to their monopoly positions.

"If the Minister wants to get cheaper power prices for New Zealand consumers, and I am sure that he does, he must do two things - re-read the Ernst and Young report, and then dust off National's line company regulation legislation and re-introduce it.

"New Zealanders expect their Minister of Energy to deliver cheaper power prices and it is within Mr Hodgson's power to do just that," Mrs Wong said.

Ends

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