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Energy Minister must act to avoid price hikes

Pansy Wong
Opposition Energy Spokesperson
Thursday 11 May 2000

Energy Minister must act to avoid price hikes

National Energy spokesperson Pansy Wong has called on the Minister of Energy to show leadership to ensure energy consumers will not be hurt during a planned 70-hour maintenance shutdown of the offshore Maui gas field over the coming weekend.

"Consumers must not be left to face opportunistic price hikes by electricity generators, distributors and retailers during the shutdown," Mrs Wong said.

Mrs Wong was surprised that it has been left to the Major Electricity User's Group to warn generators not to abuse their market power during this period. She agrees with concerns shown by them over talk of high prices before the event by some parties.

"The Minister should already have taken a stand and issued a firm statement warning the industry to work together to minimise disruption and prevent price hikes.

"He should instruct the Ministry of Economic Development to monitor pricing behaviour with great vigilance. He should clearly tell industry players that a strong regulatory regime would be implemented if serious misbehaviour is identified," Mrs Wong said.

Ends




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