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More electricity to flow south

Monday, 11 June 2001 Media Statement

More electricity to flow south

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson has been assured by the electricity national grid operator Transpower that it can implement transmission changes in less than two weeks that should help lower wholesale electricity prices.

"Following my discussions with Transpower over the last three days the company has advised me that it can increase transmission capacity into Wellington and the South Island from generation sources further north," Mr Hodgson said.

"This work will ease transmission constraints to allow generation of up to 100 extra megawatts to be fed into Wellington and the South Island. The availability of this extra capacity is expected to provide some relief from the current high wholesale price of electricity."

Cold weather and relatively low hydro lake levels are combining this year to cause high electricity demand and lower than usual hydroelectric generation, pushing up wholesale electricity prices.

The market conditions have also resulted in electricity flowing from the North Island to the South, reversing the usual flow and bringing transmission constraints into play that normally are not relevant.

"Transpower tells me it can implement the transmission capacity changes by Friday 22 June and possibly sooner, following an industry consultation process," Mr Hodgson said. "This will be a welcome change in a winter that is putting unusual pressure on electricity supplies."

The work involves the installation of sensor and switching equipment rather than extra lines and is relatively low cost.


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