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Electricity Regulations Crippling Industry

Electricity Regulations Crippling Industry

"Something is very wrong with the electricity infrastructure in New Zealand," Libertarianz Energy Spokesman Greg Balle declares, in response to the news that electricity company Vector is in regulatory sights.  "We have the Commerce Commission deciding to intervene in the supposedly free market to dictate pricing, costing and any other thing it deems necessary to providing cheap power to the people."  Comparing state intervention in electricity with centrally-planned Communist Russia, Balle reminds us: "The last time this stunt was pulled, the people ended up largely without power, shivering in the dark."

Tick off the bureaucratic errors to date, Balle says.  "A rusty D-shackle failure in moderate winds at the Otahuhu substation took Auckland businesses offline for half a day and cost them an estimated $50 million.  Added to this we have the farcical circular finger-pointing between the Electricity Commission, the Commerce Commission, Transpower and the Ministry of Energy surrounding the ongoing debate of who's responsible for actually making a decision on the South Waikato transmission line, figuring out if it is even needed, and genuinely evaluating alternatives.  At present we have three and sometimes four layers of state intervention, hand-wringing, reports, inquiries and general bureaucratic bungling involved in the electricity markets."

Balle thinks electricity is far too important to be left in incompetent government hands.  "A business leaders survey found that a key concern to businesses considering expansion are the issues surrounding electricity generation, distribution and supply infrastructure."  Perhaps the Libertarianz solution of energy deregulation would help, Balle said.  "If the state just got the hell out of the energy and electricity markets completely then a fair and free market would quickly be established, ensuring all consumers who needed cheap power could get it."

"Commerce Commission chairwoman Rebstock tries to decide from her Wellington office a goldilocks electricity price - not too much, not too little,"  Balle laughs.  "The market will get to work and outguess her every time."


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