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More power to consumers

24 July 2006

More power to consumers

Household consumers need more representation on the Electricity Commission, and deserve better access to the tools that would enable them to make better decisions about the cost of the electricity they use, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Ms Fitzsimons was speaking on the release of the annual report on the Electricity Commission by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

"The Green Party supports the Commissioner's report in general, for providing a helpful overview of the energy sector and its relationship to the environment. We strongly agree that small consumers - householders and small businesses - should have more representation on the Electricity Commission. This representation will have to be properly resourced, because of the highly technical issues involved.

"Currently, the Electricity Commission is heavily influenced by suppliers and by large consumers, and we need to redress the balance," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"We also endorse the Commissioner's recommendation on 'smart meters' that put power in the hands of consumers, so they can manage their electricity use to achieve lower prices.

"We also welcome the Commissioner's support for distributed generation from small scale renewables situated close to where the demand is, in place of reliance on giant power stations.

"Implicit in the Commissioner's report is that all the planning for electricity is being dominated by supply side thinking. This needs to be balanced by more effort on the demand side of the energy equation.

"In that sense, smart meters, which enable householders to manage their use of electrical appliances at a time when the price is lowest, is a good example of the kind of demand-side measures that New Zealand should be fostering."


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