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Govt to turn back the clock on energy sector

Govt to turn back the clock on energy sector

The National Party is deeply concerned by the Energy Minister's admission that the Government's looking at a plan that would see it seize control of the deregulated electricity market.

"Pete Hodgson has confirmed the Government's looking at a discussion document by Bryan Leyland, which advocates a giant leap backwards for our ailing energy sector," says National Party Energy Spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"The document backs the appointment of a system coordinator who would act as central buyer and seller of electricity.

"That same system co-ordinator would then sell power under a range of 'cost-reflective tariffs' in other words - price fixing," Mr Brownlee says.

"The system co-ordinator would enter in to long-term contracts for power supply and when new generation's needed, a "request for proposals" would be issued and offers invited.

"The discussion document says the cost of power between hydro and thermal power sources would be smoothed out and that would lead to a likely rise in electricity prices," Mr Brownlee says.

"So now the cat's out of the bag.

"After four years of neglecting our energy industry the Labour Government now plans to take almost complete control.

"Already that kind of talk is forcing Contact Energy to re-think its plans for three large, new gas-fired power stations.

"So again today, we've seen more evidence of a Labour Government that's run out of ideas and it's now forced to recycle philosophies already consigned to the dustbin of history," Mr Brownlee says.

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