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Kiwi families know power price rises are unfair

10 February 2014

Kiwi families know power price rises are unfair

Kiwi families know that something is wrong with National’s electricity market when power prices keep rising even as demand falls, and no electricity company-sponsored report will trick them into thinking otherwise, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

Business New Zealand today released a report by Sapere Research Group, which advised on National's 2010 electricity reforms. The report brushes over the past two decades of rapid electricity price rises and attacks the Greens-Labour NZ Power plan, which would reduce power prices by $300 a year for every household by cutting the excessive profits of electricity companies. The electricity companies are all members of Business New Zealand’s Major Companies Group.

“I’m not surprised that a report commissioned by the electricity companies’ lobby group says that power prices are justified, but Kiwi families know better,” said Mr Hughes.

“Kiwi families know that our power bills are going up at twice the rate of inflation, even though the country’s power demand is falling.

“New Zealanders know that something is broken in our electricity market when power prices have doubled in 15 years, even though most of our power is produced at very low cost with hydrodams that were built decades ago with public money.

“Energy poverty is a crucial issue in our country. 41,000 families were disconnected for being unable to pay their power bill last year. Many kiwi homes are too cold because heating them costs too much, which leads to ill-health among our kids and elderly.

“The Greens’ NZ Power plan, along with Progressive Pricing, will cut household power bills by $300 a year. That will make a massive difference to ordinary Kiwi families. The electricity companies’ report offers no solution.

“There is a lot of money at stake for the electricity companies and their lobbyists in defending the status quo. Their continued attacks against change are predictable. But something has to change. Excessive electricity prices are a deadweight on our economy, which costs us jobs, and a drain on strained family budgets that results in cold, underheated houses.

“While the power companies are playing politics, the Greens are focused on a plan that will save families $300 a year and create 5,000 jobs in our economy,” said Mr Hughes.

Greens NZ Power plan


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