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Stronger electricity industry leadership

Stronger electricity industry leadership on winter preparations

The engagement of the electricity industry's Grid Security Committee in planning and preparation for this winter is a welcome development, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

"I have made it clear to the industry that I expect it to take a more active leadership role this year in responding to the risk of a dry winter," Mr Hodgson said. "Having the Grid Security Committee take on the task of overseeing preparations shows that the industry is serious about achieving the best possible response and I welcome that commitment."

The Grid Security Committee is a standing industry body charged with defining and overseeing transmission security standards for the national grid. It is comprised of an independent chair and nine members representing industry participants and consumer interests.

"The GSC has industry representation at chief executive level, which means it can make substantial decisions that can be implemented promptly," Mr Hodgson said. "It also gives consumers a voice at the table, which is important when electricity price and supply issues are of such concern to consumers."

The GSC is due to meet tomorrow to discuss plans for responding to electricity supply and demand issues arising from the prospect of a dry winter for New Zealand's hydro-dominated electricity system.

The industry's Winter Power Group 2003, led by Transpower, will continue to monitor developments and report on likely scenarios in the event of a dry winter. Its working groups have already identified and overseen action on technical solutions to supply constraints, such as transmission improvements, and have reviewed and updated contingency plans.

Meanwhile the infrastructure group of Cabinet Ministers, led by Finance Minister Michael Cullen, is including in its agenda the longer term question of whether the current electricity market settings provide adequately for security of supply.

"In essence the question is whether some intervention in the market would provide better security of supply, recognising that increased security would mean a future increase in price," Mr Hodgson said. "However this work is not related to the immediate security of supply issue."

Grid Security Committee

Hon. David Caygill Independent Chairman

Stephen Barrett Generators CEO, Contact Energy

Keith Tempest Retailers CEO, Trustpower

Keith Turner Generators CEO, Meridian Energy

Doug Heffernan Generator CEO, Mighty River Power

Bob Thomson Transmission Asset Owners CEO, Transpower

John Walsh Distributors (ENA) CEO, Delta Utility Services

Graham Pinnell Domestic Consumers (Consumers Institute)

Terrence Currie Industrial Consumers (MEUG)

Paul Hendry Commercial Consumers (Chambers of Com.)

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