Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Power companies unfairly targeting the poorest

Power companies unfairly targeting the poorest


Power companies are unfairly targeting the poorest New Zealanders by charging them the highest electricity rates, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says.

New figures obtained by Labour show those on pre-pay electricity plans – paying electricity bills in advance – pay up to 60 per cent more than those paying a regular power bill.

“That’s just wrong. Power companies are squeezing the poorest to maximise their profits. It’s a disgrace that they are hurting Kiwis who can least afford it.

Families in Northland, for example, pay 42 per cent more if they are on prepay, while those in Dunedin pay 58.7 per cent more and in Invercargill 60.8 per cent more. That means in the worst cases some customers on the cheapest pre-pay plan are paying more than $1500 a year more than those on the cheapest standard plan.

“Nearly all of those families are obliged to go on pre-pay schemes by the power companies because they face difficulties making ends meet and have fallen behind with payments in the past. They’re essentially forced to feed the meter to stay connected.

“Given they are paying up front – and are no risk of defaulting to the company – you’d expect pre-pay users to get a reasonable deal. Instead our power companies are charging them massively more than other customers because they have nowhere else to go. They also don’t get access to special deals or discounts.

“It’s heartless and unnecessary. This Government knows it has been going on but has done nothing to bring the industry into line.

“The NZ Consumer Institute published figures in 2012 showing excessive charges. Since then, it’s got worse, not better. Demand for greater profits as a result of the Government’s privatisation of our power companies is likely to drive prices up further for those who have no voice and no choice.

“Other countries regulate prices for those on pre-pay to an equivalent of those on regular retail schemes. That’s something that could be applied here to stop power companies actively targeting the most poor and vulnerable,” David Shearer says.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

As Govt Cuts Lobby Anti-Smoking Group Funds: On The Nation - Plain Packaging Debate

Imperial Tobacco leaves open possibility of law suit against New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned. Says it’s a “last resort” but “of course we will defend the right to use our brands”. More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news