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Electricity Commission making some progress

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Päremata

www.pce.govt.nz

Media release

23 September 2008

Electricity Commission making some progress toward environmental goals, says PCE

Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, has commended the Electricity Commission for its work on improving electricity efficiency and integrating wind generation into the grid.

However, in a report released today, Dr Wright says that she does not agree with the Electricity Commission that there is no need to preferentially treat renewables. "Full environmental costs are not included in electricity prices, and sometimes a choice must be made between environmental and economic goals."

In her annual review of the Electricity Commission, Dr Wright makes specific recommendations in an effort to improve the sector's environmental performance. Part of this work also includes considering future changes in electricity supply and demand, and the associated environmental effects.

"For example, it is possible that the use of both biofuels and electricity in plug-in hybrid cars will become widespread. It makes me question if the Electricity Commission may need to have its scope broadened to cope with such changes, to encompass more than just electricity," commented Dr Wright.

"In short, is there a case for the Electricity Commission to evolve into an Energy Commission?" questions Dr Wright.

Four technical reports looking at the benefits of smart electricity meters and using different pricing systems were also released today as part of the Commissioner's work in this area.

The report, including detailed recommendations, and related technical reports are available on the PCE website: www.pce.govt.nz

ENDS

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