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Blackout reports raise more questions than answers

Hon Nick Smith MP National Party Energy Spokesman

27 June 2006

Blackout reports raise more questions than answers

National's Energy spokesman, Nick Smith, says Transpower's report into the Auckland blackout leaves many unanswered questions and shows the urgent need to upgrade the grid now.

"It is clear that there has been underinvestment in the grid under Labour, and that there is insufficient security into economic hubs like Auckland. The timetable for fixing this basic infrastructure is too slow."

Dr Smith says questions that remain unanswered include why electricity to 700,000 people was dependent on a single wire, and whether investment in transmission has been enough to keep up with economic growth and electricity demand.

"But perhaps the most important unanswered question is whether the regulatory structure between the Electricity Commission, the Commerce Commission, Transpower, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Minister's office is the best structure to ensure security of supply.

"The reality for Transpower in the past two years, is that both the Commerce Commission and the Electricity Commission have been blocking its attempts to invest and upgrade the grid.

"We will face more blackouts unless these fundamental questions are answered."


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