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Govt power move welcome - union

Govt power move welcome - union

The EPMU is welcoming the Government’s move to sort out problems in the electricity industry.

Union members have seen plants shut down and others cut production over the past week as prices on the deregulated spot market have “spiked” to horrendous levels.

National secretary Andrew Little said that the announcement by Prime Minister Helen Clark that there would be significant changes in the electricity sector was a step forward.

“We welcome the fact that the Government is now prepared to address this issue,” he said.

“It is vital that this is sorted out, in the interests of industry and of good-quality jobs.”

Among the companies most affected by the huge rise in power prices is Fletcher Building’s Pacific Steel mills in Auckland. Production at all three mills stopped altogether last week as prices rose to more than $250 a unit. The roller mill has been running again since yesterday, and the steel mill has operated sporadically over the past two days.

Production at the Norske Skog plant at Kawerau, the Pan Pac forest products plant in Napier and the Comalco aluminium plant at Tiwai Point has also been affected, and the EPMU fears that other companies are considering shutting down.

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