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Govt profiting from power companies

Gerry Brownlee

National Energy Spokesperson

18th October 2002

Govt profiting from power companies

Four out of the five major electricity retailers are failing to comply with the low fixed charges policy, and the Government is profiting as a result, says National's Energy Spokesperson Gerry Brownlee.

"It is absolute nonsense for Energy Minister Pete Hodgson's officials to say they are monitoring the situation.

"To say they are in "discussions" with retailers about the situations is a cop-out. Every day the Minister and his official's dither is a day's more profit for the Government.

"What the Minister and his Ministry have failed to mention is that 70% of residential electricity customers are now contracted to State Owned Enterprises - and just today SOE Meridian announced it had delivered a profit of $84 million, and another SOE, Genesis, announced it had delivered a profit of $48 million.

"What the Minister should be doing is giving these SOEs 30 days to comply with the low fixed charges policy - and if they fail to comply, take some drastic action to return their massive profits to consumers.

"But of course, the Government may prefer not to push too hard - ultimately they are the ones who truly profit from high electricity prices," said Mr Brownlee.

Ends

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