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Government sector electricity savings to continue

Tuesday, 24 June 2003 Media Statement

Government sector electricity savings to continue

Efforts to save electricity in the government sector will continue with a revised target of 10 percent, in line with the national call to use electricity prudently this winter, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

In April the Cabinet set a 15 percent savings target for the government sector. Mr Hodgson said that with the end of the Target 10 percent campaign for public savings it was appropriate to revise the government sector target.

"New Zealanders have responded superbly to the nationwide electricity savings campaign and the supply situation has now improved to the extent that the Winter Power Taskforce is right to end the Target 10 campaign," Mr Hodgson said. "Dr Strange is also right to ask for continued prudent savings, which will stand us in good stead for the rest of the winter and for next year. We see the government sector playing an important role in maintaining a lower level of savings over the coming months."

Combined government sector power savings were 6 percent for April and 10 percent for May, on a direct comparison with consumption in 2002. National savings for May averaged 6 percent.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, which is monitoring government sector savings, advises that given 4 percent growth in the sector's electricity consumption for the first quarter of 2003 the May result equates to a savings over business-as-usual of about 14 percent.

Mr Hodgson said the Government's reserve generation measures, announced on May 20, would improve electricity supply security for the future, but he and officials were very closely involved with planning and risk analysis for winter 2004 and 2005.

"The Government is putting considerable effort into assessing the electricity industry's preparedness for the risk of another dry winter in the near future. This includes close examination of fuel supplies for thermal generation and arrangements for temporary additions to generation capacity if needed. This work will continue for some time."

ENDS

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