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Nats scaremongering on electricity supply

Nats scaremongering on electricity supply

The National Party is scaremongering about New Zealand’s electricity needs, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

“National leader Bill English and his rival Gerry Brownlee have today made demonstrably false claims about Transpower’s forecasting and a supply security notice. Their statements show either ignorance of how the electricity system works or an appalling readiness to mislead New Zealanders in the desperate quest for a headline.

“It is simply untrue, contrary to Mr English’s claim, that Transpower warned ‘all consumers north of Twizel’ this winter that ‘they may face blackouts’. Mr English will be unable to produce any Transpower document warning of blackouts, because none exists.

“Transpower issued one customer advice notice concerning the main Twizel-Christchurch transmission line this winter, one of hundreds of such notices it issues every year as a routine part of managing the national grid. Such notices are neither direct nor implied blackout warnings. They are routine notices to the rest of the electricity industry that result in either additional generation or normal load management measures such as ripple control of hot water heating.

“It is also untrue, contrary to Mr Brownlee’s claim, that Transpower’s System Security Forecast ‘suggests that if the proposed Dobson hydro station doesn’t go ahead, all consumers north of the Waitaki Valley and Christchurch City will face winter blackouts from 2005’. The forecast, published in June, neither says nor implies any such thing and Mr Brownlee will be completely unable to back up this claim.

“National’s assertion that Trustpower’s proposed Dobson hydro scheme is the only answer to future electricity needs is based on crude politics rather than on any understanding or analysis of New Zealand’s electricity supply options. Mr English’s claim that ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would ‘eliminate the option of thermal generation from coal or gas’ is patently ridiculous and is flatly contradicted by economic analyses the government has recently released.”

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