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Electricity Review Leaves Rural NZ Out In Cold

Electricity Review Leaves Rural New Zealand Out In The Cold

Federated Farmers Vice President and energy spokesman Tom Lambie said today that the Government's plans for the electricity industry would do very little for rural New Zealanders, and asks more questions than it answers.

"Rural consumers are still not being protected from monopoly line companies. The Government only "expects" the line companies to keep changes to rural line charges in line with urban line charges, and promises to monitor the charges."

Mr Lambie said that the history of officials monitoring and acting on line charges was poor.

"Furthermore, the threat of the Commerce Commissions imposing price controls will not guarantee efficient service at he cheapest price."

"Consumers have already waited far too long for better legal protection. Promises that criteria will be developed, and then a monitoring period, means that effective controls are still a long way off."

The Government is also silent on line companies' present obligations to maintain the quality standards of rural lines up to 2013. "Without that obligation, rural areas could see their lines being rundown and unable to be used beyond 2013.

Federated Farmers calls on the Government to give proper analysis of how its electricity policy is going to meet rural needs beyond 2013.

ENDS

For further information: Tom Lambie 026-113-161 Catherine Petrey 04 473-7269 (wk)


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