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Transpower Scare Mongering With Blackout Claim

4 February 2005

Transpower scare mongering with blackout claim

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says Transpower is scare mongering with its claims that Auckland will face blackouts if its proposed new giant transmission lines are not built.

The electricity distribution SOE made the claim yesterday when speaking to its financial report to Parliament's Commerce Select Committee.

"Transpower should be required to tell the whole truth, which is that there are alternatives to building these lines that would keep the lights on in Auckland," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Greens' Energy Spokesperson.

"It is outrageous for a national monopoly to use taxpayers' money to ram through a project with huge effects on people's lives when there hasn't been a proper evaluation of the alternatives.

"If the Government changes the law to give Transpower greater authority to override local people's objections it will be directly contradicting its own requirements that all the alternatives to the giant towers be properly evaluated.

"Transpower knows that legally it cannot proceed with the lines until the Electricity Commission has agreed that this is the best option. What we need is a thorough investigation and costing of an alternative package that will meet Auckland's needs without exposing the people of the Waikato and the Hunuas to a giant intrusion on their landscape and a threat to their health from powerful electromagnetic fields.

"Transpower has acknowledged that the lines are only needed at peak hours on cold winter afternoons. There are many other projects that would contribute to meeting that need: more generation north of Auckland, such as wind turbines to generate electricity and wood processing plants using waste wood-fired co-generation; connecting more Auckland households to gas for space heating and cooking, which is twice as efficient as burning it for electricity; and energy efficiency investment to save some of the 30 per cent of electricity that is currently wasted through poor technology.

"I'm not surprised landowners who previously allowed Transpower to have access for maintenance of the existing lines are now refusing. These people are highly suspicious that the visits are not for maintenance at all, but are preparation for the new towers. They know there are alternatives and they know Transpower is not interested in investigating them, no wonder they are not co-operative," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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