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Govt must keep foot on energy savings accelerator

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Energy Spokesman

19 June 2003

Govt must keep foot on energy savings accelerator

The Government must keep its foot hard down on the electricity savings accelerator, says National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

He's responding to reports that Patrick Strange is today expected to wind the 'risk meter' back to yellow from orange alert.

"While Dr Strange is calling for continuing savings, I believe this move sends the wrong message to consumers," says Mr Brownlee.

"The Government was painfully slow to react to the crisis, now it must not act prematurely by sending the message that things are returning to normal.

"Rain in the past four weeks has refilled hydro storage to only 87% of average, but we haven't yet reached peak winter usage," Mr Brownlee says.

"Only this week the South Island ski-fields have been opening and with the shortest day coming up this weekend - it would seem the cold weather is still on its way.

"It took more than four weeks for consumers to reach the 10% savings target, that dropped to just 5.4% on Tuesday from average savings of 7.3% last week," says Mr Brownlee.

"The Labour Government has been lucky with the weather so far, and shouldn't put itself in the position of asking industry twice in one year to scale back production because of an electricity shortage.

"The public always respond well to calls for energy savings, but may not be so keen to help out the Government next time around, especially if the next time is sooner rather than later," Mr Brownlee says. Ends

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