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Govt failing to deliver more affordable electricity

Jonathan Young - Energy and Resources

3 October 2019

The Government’s response to the Electricity Price Review has failed to deliver meaningful savings for New Zealanders struggling with the rising cost of living, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says.

“It is not good enough that the Government has failed to identify how much, if anything, these changes will reduce New Zealanders’ electricity bills by every year.

“Most of the changes merely tinker around the edges of the electricity market and won’t undo the damage caused by the Government’s failed energy policies.

“Some changes seem perverse and poorly thought through, such as removing prompt payment discounts while retaining late payment fees, which will punish people who pay their bills on time. These discounts can reduce electricity bills by up to $600 a year for the average household.

“The reckless decision to ban new oil and gas exploration will also increase weekly power prices for New Zealanders, increase global carbon emissions and risk our energy security.

“New Zealand already has one of the most renewable electricity markets in the world but the Government is pushing for 100 per cent renewable, which will see overinvestment in generation and could increase electricity costs by $300 a year for the average household.

“Despite initiating this review, there is no indication that New Zealand First is delivering on its election promises of restoring public ownership to Mixed Ownership Model gentailers, cancelling the transmission pricing methodology or transferring regulatory functions from the Electricity Authority to the Commerce Commission.

“National supports a competitive electricity market that is affordable, secure and reduces carbon emissions in the most efficient way possible.

“That is why we support some of the changes, such as greater transparency for the vertically integrated gentailers, improving liquidity in the electricity futures market, community level support for those in energy hardship, reducing barriers for consumers to switch retailers and removing the low fixed charge.”

ends

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