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Government hiding truth on hefty power bills

Government hiding truth on hefty power bills

The Finance Minister has admitted that New Zealand is on the brink of an electricity crisis but is hiding the truth on power price hikes, says National's Energy spokesman, Gerry Brownlee.

"Dr Cullen confirmed in Parliament today that lake storage levels are only 82 percent of what is normal for this time of the year, and that inflows are at a critical 67 percent of their normal level.

"The reality of this is that any power price hikes will be significantly higher than the eight percent increase over three years suggested by the Energy Minister.

"These low lake storage levels come at a time when the diminishing Maui gas field makes it difficult to substitute hydro generation with increased thermal generation.

"The result of the Government's failure to encourage greater exploration for gas over the past few years will mean that New Zealanders may face price hikes of up to 20 percent on their electricity bills, over the next three years.

"It's all very well for Dr Cullen to talk of conservation measures to avert a crisis. I am calling on the Energy Minister to act now and announce a plan to reduce electricity consumption and conserve storage capacity," says Mr Brownlee.

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