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Winter Power Taskforce congratulated

Winter Power Taskforce congratulated

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson today thanked the Winter Power Taskforce for its management of electricity supply issues and the Target 10 power savings campaign.

Taskforce head Dr Patrick Strange today announced that the Taskforce was being disbanded, with power savings, rain and improved thermal generation fuel stocks having cut substantially the risk of power shortages this winter.

"Dr Strange and his team have done an excellent job, both in running the national power savings campaign and in working behind the scenes to maximise the electricity system's ability to deliver power in difficult circumstances," Mr Hodgson said.

"Earlier this year I made it clear to the electricity industry that I expected it to take a more active leadership role this year in responding to the risk of a dry winter. It did so by establishing the Winter Power Taskforce and it is to be congratulated for that commitment of effort and resources.

Mr Hodgson said electricity supply security in future would be improved significantly by the Government's reserve generation measures, announced on May 20. The Electricity Commission, which will contract for reserve generation to be used in very dry years, is due to be established within the next two months.

"Meanwhile there is considerable work being done on planning and risk analysis for winter 2004 and 2005," Mr Hodgson said. "The Government is putting considerable effort into assessing the electricity industry's preparedness for the risk of another dry year in the near future. This includes close examination of fuel supplies for thermal generation and arrangements for temporary additions to generation capacity if needed."

Mr Hodgson said he hoped New Zealanders would retain many of the power-saving habits picked up during the savings campaign.

"New Zealanders responded very well to the call for savings and I know many discovered ways to save power without compromising their comfort or lifestyle. If those habits continue, consumers save money and help progress towards a more efficient and sustainable electricity system."

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