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Competition good for electricity consumers

Thursday, 29 April 2004

Media Statement

Increased competition good for electricity consumers

Contact Energy's announcement today that it is expanding its retail operations to offer full national coverage is good news for electricity consumers, says Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

"Competition between electricity retailers is an essential check on electricity prices," Mr Hodgson said. "For some time now I have been urging the major electricity companies to expand their retail areas and compete more vigorously for New Zealanders' electricity accounts. I am pleased to see Contact expanding its range to become the country's second nationwide retailer."

Contact's expansion will take it into King Country, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, Waipa, central and Southern Hawke's Bay, Wairoa, Buller and Westland, making another choice of power supplier available to an estimated 125,000 households and businesses.

"In most of these regions competition is currently less than satisfactory," Mr Hodgson said. "In central and southern Hawke's Bay, where only one electricity company is currently supplying domestic electricity consumers, the arrival of another retailer is particularly welcome. The other regions Contact is entering currently have two competing retailers, except for Waipa which has five. My view is that adequate competition requries at least three retailers to be actively competing for business in a region.

"I urge other electricity retailers to follow Contact and Meridian in competing nationwide. The ability for consumers to choose between competing retailers puts vital pressure on electricity companies to deliver fair prices and good service."

ENDS


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