Power Price Rises Will Punish Struggling Families
for Social Policy/Welfare
March 4, 2014
Power Price Rises Will Punish Struggling Families During Winter
The Government should ensure that energy is supplied at a fair and reasonable price for consumers says New Zealand First.
Spokesperson for Social Policy, Le’aufa’amulia Asenati Lole-Taylor says price hikes by major power companies just before the onset of winter will be disastrous for low-income families living in poor conditions.
“Contact Energy began notifying its customers of increases to their electricity bills in February citing higher charges by local lines companies. However, data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows that energy companies seem to be benefiting more from the price hike than any of the local lines companies in New Zealand.
“The Government has a duty to protect New Zealanders from unfair electricity prices, especially vulnerable families at risk of being disconnected if they can’t afford to pay their power bill. We do not want to repeat what happened to Mrs Folole Muliaga from South Auckland in 2007. She died after the power was disconnected at her house where she relied on an oxygen machine to breathe.
“More than 40,000 families had their power disconnected in 2013. Without adequate heating during winter, this will translate to large numbers of people getting sick simply because they could not afford to stay warm.
“The Government cannot sit by idly while energy companies continue to put profit before people by passing on costs to consumers.
“When the general cost of living is going up, New Zealand families will struggle to find that little bit extra to pay their higher power bills this winter,” says Mrs Lole-Taylor.