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Low Fixed Charges For Electricity Now Offered

Sunday 21 April 2002

Low Fixed Charges For Electricity Now Widely Offered

All domestic electricity consumers in New Zealand now have the option of a low fixed charge tariff, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson today released information on the low fixed charges being offered throughout New Zealand by electricity retailers. It shows that domestic consumers in all parts of the country have the option of a low fixed charge tariff that complies with the Government’s requirement for a charge of no more than 30c a day, plus GST.

“The widespread availability of low fixed charges is an important advance in the interests of low power users and low income earners,” Mr Hodgson said. “These consumers have suffered from continuing increases in fixed charges in recent years.

“The Government has introduced the requirement for retailers to make a low fixed charge tariff available to help small domestic consumers control their power bills. Pensioners in particular can take advantage of a low fixed charge tariff to save money on power.”

Low fixed charge tariffs are optional because they do not suit all consumers. They come with higher charges per unit of electricity consumed, but switching to a low fixed charge will produce an overall saving for anyone consuming less than the average of 8000 kilowatt-hours a year. The tariffs are available only for normally occupied homes – excluding, for example, holiday homes.

“With winter approaching it is important that low power users contact their power company to find out whether they would benefit from switching to a low fixed charge tariff,” Mr Hodgson said. “I expect retailers to begin advertising the availability of these tariffs more widely and the Government will also be looking at ways to raise consumers’ awareness of the low fixed charge option.”

The tariff information released by Mr Hodgson today shows that there is a low fixed charge option meeting the Government’s requirements available in every part of the country from at least one retailer. In some areas particular retailers have yet to introduce a compliant tariff and these are being followed up. Retailers are not required to offer the low fixed charge option in network areas where they have fewer than 50 domestic customers.

Ends

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