Where Is The Competitive Power Market?
ACT Energy Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today accused Pete Hodgson of having a bob each way with the electricity market.
"The Minister's threat today of intervention within a few months rings very hollow when his Government has enjoyed substantial dividends from its generating companies as a result of the inflated prices caused by last year's power crisis.
"His latest comments are those of somebody who wants the best of both worlds - high dividends from the power generators on one hand - but an appeased public on the other. What is he going to say to these companies when he `summons' them to his beehive meeting tomorrow - that he doesn't want big dividends from them any more?
"Direct Government intervention in the market won't work. What is needed is an adequate structure that ensures there won't be collusion on pricing between the major players in the market and that there will be adequate and transparent competition.
"I'm not convinced at all that this Government is really committed to that.
"High energy prices are just another indirect tax put upon the people by the coalition.
"The only explanation I can see is that there is a carefully constructed plan to drive electricity prices up.
"Government is determined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol making their need to increase wind and solar generation inevitable. Both wind and solar are much more expensive at present, and driving prices upward helps them to compete. The Green Party's influence is clear as they have remained silent over power price increases to consumers.
"It is incumbent upon Pete Hodgson, as shareholding Minister to ensure a truly independent generation market, operating free of any Government control or direction," Gerry Eckhoff said.