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Govt On Hydro Lake Watch

The Government is keeping watch on electricity hydro lake storage levels, which are now below two-thirds of the average for this time of year.

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says there is not yet cause for concern but the situation highlights the importance of making efficient use of energy.

"The price of electricity on the wholesale market is rising as increasing winter demand puts pressure on supply," Mr Hodgson said. Efficient users of electricity will save themselves money and help limit that pressure."

Mr Hodgson is getting weekly updates on hydro lake storage levels, which he will be releasing publicly.

The latest information shows that national hydro storage is 61 per cent of the average for this time of year. Inflows to the lakes over the week to 4 June have been 39 per cent of average, which means storage levels are declining.

The last monthly Climate Update from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) predicted average to below average rainfall for the central North Island and average rainfall for the Southern Alps. Streamflows in both islands are expected to be average or below average.

"Lake levels are unusually low, but are still somewhat higher than they were leading up to the 1992 crisis," Mr Hodgson said. "It should also be noted that New Zealand has more generating capacity than in 1992. At this stage there is therefore only a modest chance of supply difficulties, but I want New Zealanders to be aware of the situation."

Ends

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