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Hodgson Fails To Act On Fixed Charges

Christchurch electricity consumers angry about the lack of service and higher daily fixed charges imposed by TransAlta should hold the Energy Minister Peter Hodgson accountable as well, National Energy spokesperson Pansy Wong said today.

"Mr Hodgson is sitting on the electricity review which recommends that fixed network charges should be no more than 25 percent of a typical household's electricity bill. It also recommends the establishment of an Electricity Ombudsman scheme and the extension of the Consumer Guarantees Act to electricity

"Before the election Peter Hodgson condemned high fixed electricity charges and his party had a policy that fixed charges should not exceed 10% of the average electricity price for domestic consumers.

"If he would do something about the report now sitting on his desk, Christchurch consumers might get some relief from their bills. But apparently the Government does not view the electricity review as an urgent item and is waiting until a spot becomes available in the Cabinet agenda.

"If he ever does act, it looks like being far too late to provide any comfort in time for consumers' high winter electricity bills," Mrs Wong said.

Mrs Wong will meet with TransAlta on Wednesday 9 August for a meeting that was set when TransAlta announced the change . She will seek answers about the change in the pricing structure and the impact on Christchurch electricity consumers.

Ends

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