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Copeland: Hit electricity price-gouging hard

Copeland: Hit electricity price-gouging hard

As well as moving to avoid looming power cuts and blackouts, the Government must protect New Zealanders from power company price-gouging, United Future energy spokesman Gordon Copeland said today.

"Price-gouging cannot be allowed, particularly as the industry, and the industry alone, was given the task of avoiding this crisis in the first place," Mr Copeland said.

"If need be, a policing regime should be put in place to see to it that electricity generators don't succumb to the temptation to make a fast buck at the expense of the average New Zealander.

"It's happened before. It should not be allowed to happen again," he said.

Mr Copeland also called for a two-pronged approach from the Government to averting the crisis.

"The only safe assumption is to proceed on the basis that a lack of water in the southern lakes will lead to a shortage of electricity, but the Government and the industry must immediately use TV advertisements and all means at their disposal to urge businesses and households to conserve electricity.

"Many businesses could make significant savings on a 12-month investment payback period. They should not hesitate to do so.

"Households, too, can be encouraged to insulate, invest in gas heating alternatives and the like.

"Government should also publicly notify all electricity generators that they are to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that supply is maximised.

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