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Hodgson limits falling electricity charges

Pansy Wong National Energy Spokesperson

1 February 2001

Hodgson limits falling electricity charges

The Minister of Energy can say all he likes about electricity consumers deserving 'a better deal', but he only has himself to blame, National's Energy spokesperson Pansy Wong said today.

"The slower delivery of price reductions for electricity consumers than experts expected, is because of the continual lack of regulatory certainty and industry consolidation.

Ms Wong's comments follow the annual Gemini Ernst & Young Electricity Distribution Company Analysis, which examines electricity lines companies' performance.

"The same analysis in 1999 indicated there was a potential for an average 10% drop in line charges. But this week's analysis reveals that line charges have only reduced by 5% in real terms.

"Pete Hodgson's politicking is to blame. He has single-handedly caused regulatory uncertainty. The Government had its chance to bring down line charges but refused to support legislation designed to achieve that.

"National's legislation would have subjected lines companies to comprehensive audits by the Commerce Commission to put a lid on excessive profiteering. Such decisive action could have been in place by now with all New Zealand electricity consumers reaping the benefits.

The Government's Electricity Industry Bill, which is currently before select committee, falls well short of giving the distribution industry a transparent and decisive legislative regime," Pansy Wong said.

Ends


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