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Fidgeting Nats no help to electricity consumers

19 June 2001

Fidgeting Nats no help to electricity consumers

“Electricity price increases and the possibility of supply difficulties later this winter highlight the stupidity of National’s decision to block the report back of the Electricity Industry Bill”, says David Cunliffe MP for Titirangi .

"I am concerned at the impending average 16 per cent price increase by On Energy in West Auckland. This will hit senior citizens and low income families hardest.

"Consumers need the changes to the electricity industry in the Government's Power Package and Electricity Industry Bill. It's time for National to get out of the way and let Labour get on with fixing the mess left by Max Bradford."

“Energy Minister Pete Hodgson's legislation is a key part of a comprehensive policy package aimed at delivering a fairer deal for electricity consumers. National's pathetic attempt to slow its progress is a sign of a party bankrupt of both ideas and responsibility.

"Fortunately National will not succeed in causing anything more than a minor delay in the Government's progress. By next winter:
- electricity customers will be able to switch companies more easily
- the availability of low fixed charge tariff options will mean households can save real money when they conserve electricity
- any lines companies that abuse their monopoly power will be subject to price control
- a process to remove transmission constraints will be in place
- it will be easier for wind and solar generation to join the national grid
- we will have an electricity ombudsman
- the industry will be subject to annual public audit.

“Passing the Electricity Industry Bill will help achieve positive change for electricity consumers.

"By contrast National's pathetic grandstanding in the Commerce Select Committee achieves not one thing for consumers. National's only response to the current situation is to try to add insult to the injury perpetrated by Max Bradford."

ENDS

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