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Greens to reduce power bills

18 April 2013

Greens to reduce power bills

The Green Party has a plan to reduce the power bills that Kiwi households and businesses pay while encouraging energy efficiency, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Green Party today released a discussion document entitled Empowering New Zealand, outlining policy proposals for electricity sector reform. The centrepiece is a new Pharmac-style agency named NZ Power. This agency will pool electricity customers’ demand together to drive down the high prices charged by electricity generators. NZ Power will pass these savings on to customers through Progressive Pricing for households and lower prices to businesses.

“The Greens will put affordable electricity for Kiwi families and businesses ahead of profits for electricity company shareholders. Our plan will save each family $300 a year,” said Dr Norman.

“New Zealanders are paying too much for electricity while electricity company shareholders make large profits. The Greens will change that.

“National’s reforms in the 1990s created an electricity system where all the major players benefit from higher prices and no-one stands up for families and businesses that have to pay the cost.

“The price of electricity has risen 70% above inflation in the past two decades in New Zealand, while it has fallen in the rest of the developed world.

“Power prices have risen by $100 per family in the past year, and $300 per family under National.

“NZ Power will give power back to the people. Its purpose will be to drive hard bargains for cheaper electricity and pass the savings on to consumers, just as Pharmac does in the health sector.

“Under our Progressive Pricing policy, every household will get a block of low-cost electricity each month from the savings that NZ Power achieves. That will save each family $300 a year, while encouraging efficient use of power at the margins.

“NZ Power will be explicitly mandated to prioritise renewables, energy efficiency, and resilience of our electricity system. For the first time, we will have a major player in the system that is committed to energy efficiency.

“We welcome the fact that Labour’s search for a solution to unfair and unaffordable power prices has come to the same conclusion as the Greens have. A single buyer that works for the consumer, not to make profits, is the way forward.

“For too long, the electricity system has been used to leech profits from Kiwi families and businesses. The Greens’ plan will mean lower power bills, helping Kiwi families to warm their homes. It will also reduce power costs to businesses, which will help them hire more workers,” said Dr Norman.

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