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

 

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news