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Auckland Electricity Management

Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson said he had been assured by electricity industry executives today that arrangements are being put in place to manage possible electricity supply shortages in the Auckland area this coming summer.

Mr Hodgson and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Auckland Issues, Judith Tizard, met senior executives from the generation, transmission and retail sectors of the electricity industry this afternoon.

Transpower, the operator of the national grid, recently flagged concerns that a combination of factors could create the need for some increased management of electricity supply and demand in Auckland in the summer months.

"We have agreed on a process for monitoring the supply situation over the next few months and developing management options," Mr Hodgson said. "A detailed update on the outlook for the summer period will be discussed in late October, followed by monthly updates.

"The monitoring programme will include updated information on forecast customer demand, generation availability and the effect of any transmission constraint relief. The level of Lake Taupo, which provides water storage for Waikato River hydro stations, will also be important, although it is not the deciding factor. Transmission management and the availability of generation plant close to Auckland will be significant."

Mr Hodgson said an operational working group of industry and officials will be established to co-ordinate the response to the situation and further develop the range of management options. Operational planning for supply and demand management measures will be under way by the end of November if necessary. If there are supply constraints they are expected to occur around January to March next year on hot afternoons, when air-conditioning load is heaviest.

"The discussion today demonstrated strong co-operation amongst industry players to manage possible supply constraints and avoid disruption to consumers. I expect power supply in Auckland this coming summer to be managed much more effectively as a result."

Ends

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