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Electricity Commission Good For Consumers

Electricity Commission Good For Consumers, Says Greypower

"Grey Power expects household electricity price rises of up to 15% this year," says Grey Power Federation President Graham Stairmand. "In fact, it's already started with Genesis' price rises in the Wellington area. As in 2001, the retailers will claim that it's necessary because of increased risks following the hydro shortage, but in reality they can only do it because there's no effective competition. In any case, the real problem during this year's shortage was that the hydro generators had not taken out reserve supply contracts with the thermal generators, and the thermal generators were not adequately prepared in terms of fuel supplies. The major retailers, of course, are all owned by generators."

"In this situation, we think that the formation of an Electricity Commission makes excellent sense. As the Prime Minister has said, the present market's time horizon is too short. We need a body like the Electricity Commission to force it to act in the long term interest of the Nation."

"Another problem with the market has been that consumers have had no say in the way it was set up or operates. After all, consumers are the reason the electricity market exists at all, and in any normal market situation would have a major influence on how it works. We see the Electricity Commission as the Government's last chance to get a fair deal for consumers. It needs to be set up with formal arrangements to represent consumers' views, and the means for consumers to contest industry initiatives and policies on an equal footing with the industry."

"I have written to the Ministers of Finance and Energy to make sure they understand our viewpoint. Grey Power is acknowledged to represent the largest proportion of household electricity consumers of any organisation in New Zealand. We are eager to cooperate with government and the industry to secure a better future” The future of the consumer should always loom large in a governments mind.

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