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Electricity price claims exaggerated

Thursday, 14 June 2001 Media Statement

Electricity price claims exaggerated

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson says New Zealanders should be wary of over-reacting to exaggerated statements and reports about electricity prices.

"The truth is that current wholesale electricity market prices signify a modest chance of supply difficulties later this winter," Mr Hodgson said.

"To date no power retailer has put up prices for domestic consumers in response to the wholesale price rise. Any suggestions that household power bills may increase by hundreds of dollars a month are just wild and irresponsible speculation.

"I am concerned that some householders may overreact and put their health in jeopardy by going without heating on cold days for fear of astronomical power bills. There is no need for that.

"I am also concerned at some alarmist reporting of this issue. When asked at a Parliamentary select committee today to guarantee there would be no power cuts this winter I stated the obvious: that if it did not rain for three months, the lights would go out. I also pointed out that New Zealand had never got through three months of winter with no rain. I was then reported to be issuing a warning about power cuts.

"I am not warning anyone of power cuts. I am saying there is a modest chance of supply difficulties this winter."


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