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Higher power bills to pay for waste

Higher power bills to pay for waste

New Zealanders will object to paying higher power bills so thoughtless people can keep wasting energy, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The Government today released its revised draft Policy Statement on Electricity Governance, setting out key changes to the electricity industry, which it expects the newly-appointed Electricity Commission to oversee. The Commission is tasked with ensuring New Zealand's electricity supply is secure.

Ms Fitzsimons said there was a fundamental conflict between the Government's objective to meet electricity requirements at "least-cost to the economy as a whole", and its requirement to build enough capacity to meet a one in 60 dry year without a conservation campaign.

"This means building new capacity in both lines and generation that will sit unused for 59½ years out of every 60. That is a huge waste of resources and has to be paid for out of everyone's power bills," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"New Zealanders have not been asked whether they are happy to pay more for their electricity all the time, just so that no-one ever has to turn out a light.

"After two dry winters and industry lobbying, the Government has panicked and rejected the legal obligation that the Minister has to "promote energy conservation", under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000."

The Government has failed to take on board the green message that conservation does not mean freezing in the dark. There is a host of easy measures that don't compromise our quality of life but could significantly reduce our power use in a dry year. We should develop a plan to do that, and it should be part of our dry year strategy, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"Instead this policy statement puts much more emphasis on building more generation, lines and transmission which are much more costly than a reminder to turn off the computer screen when you go home.

"While the Green Party wants to see energy conservation become part of our way of life, it is always possible to do more for a short period as a result of an awareness campaign. This should be part of the mix of options available for a dry winter."

ENDS

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