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Grey Power Electricity It’s worse than we thought!

“Going to bed at 5:30 in the afternoon may not be enough…”

It’s worse than we thought!

“The recent furor over state-owned Genesis Power’s prepay meter price rise will hurt low-income families a lot more than we first thought,” says Grey Power energy spokesman Peter Rutledge from Paremata.

“We are talking about an out-of-the-pocket increase in power cost for an average all-electric home using a prepay meter that could up to sixty dollars per month. That’s just the increase!” says Mr. Rutledge.

Mr Rutledge bases his conclusion on published figures showing average winter peak and off-peak consumption. The average consumer uses 8000 kilowatthours/year.

Mr Rutledge says retired beneficiaries will need to turn off their hot water heaters during peak hours in order to afford minimal heating, cooking and lighting during late afternoon hours. He asks if Genesis will provide a switching facility to do this?

Genesis’ proposal may contravene the Government Policy for a special rate for low users under 8000 Kw/h per year. Energy Minister Trevor Mallard wasn’t available for comment, but his office did indicate any energy price rises would need to take the policy into account.

An estimated 10,000 prepay meters are in current use, the vast majority by low-income householders. A large proportion of these are retired beneficiaries, Mr Rutledge says.

“The flow-on from this unnecessary and irresponsible price rise will incur a serious increase in health problems for asthmatics and children with respiratory problems. Arthritis and rheumatic pains will cripple many, and there will be an increase in influenza illnesses. Maybe Genesis, who prides itself on being the largest supplier of electricity in New Zealand, will help with the increased national health bill,” says Peter Rutledge.

Grey Power’s election strategy lists energy cost as the second highest concern after health. The Organisation’s policy statement specifically requires “charges for electricity supplied by pre-payment meters should be at the normal domestic price.”

The Grey Power Federation with more than 84-thousand active members is recognised as the leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders.

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