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Grey Power praises Commissioner's recommendation

7 August 2005

Grey Power praises recommendation asking for more consultation from Electricity Commission

“We are absolutely delighted that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has finally recommended that the Energy Minister and Electricity Commissioner improve representation by wider sector groups,” says Grey Power Federation President Graham Stairmand.

“Ever since the Electricity Commission was established in March last year, Grey Power has strongly supported setting-up a consumer advocacy group to contest what appears to be unilateral and unwarranted industry price increases. It is the ordinary consumer who suffers price rise after price rise without redress.

“The recent 8% electricity price increase, following Transpower’s $65 million profit last year and coming at the same time as the revelation of $100,000-plus salaries for more than a third of Transpower’s entire workforce is insulting in the extreme,” Graham Stairmand says.

Late last week, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) Dr Morgan Williams presented the first Electricity Commission’s Environmental Performance Assessment citing twelve recommendations including broadening the range of advisory groups and clarifying a wider energy strategy.

The Assessment said “the (Electricity) Commission must insure its advisory groups represent all interest groups, specifically those that represent small consumers and providers of demand-side management solutions. (Dr Morgan’s emphasis). Collectively, these groups are significant energy users, but often they cannot participate in the Commission’s formal consultation process.

“The PCE would like to see the Commission consider how it might help these groups to become fully involved in its consultation processes. It was a common criticism of the previous regulatory regime that the major generators and users of electricity enjoyed disproportionate access to, and influence over, decision-making. It is to be hoped that the Commission does make itself vulnerable to this same criticism.”

Mr Stairmand says the Electricity Commission is “already well and truly vulnerable to that criticism, to the point that cost and regulation of energy is now first on the list of the five major concerns by the Grey Power membership.”

The rate of superannuation is second, followed by hospital waiting lists, law and order and local government rate increases. “While not recommending any candidate or party, these issues have all been put before the parties. It will be up to the individual Grey Power member to decide which party is most responsive to his or her needs,” says Mr. Stairmand.

There are 76 Grey Power local affiliated associations throughout the country with a total membership of more than 90,000 active members. NZ Grey Power is recognised as a leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders.

ENDS

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