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DEUN in recess

Press Release: DEUN in recess. 22 December 2013

DEUN, the Domestic Energy Users’ Network, is temporarily in recess, awaiting new people to carry on its important work.

DEUN is non-political, advocating for affordable and sustainable energy for householders. Our Manifesto is as relevant today as it was in 2008. Its priority issues in 2008 were

Fair pricing: household price rises are subsidizing new power stations

Energy Poverty

Inadequate funding for household energy efficiency

Health Outcomes: cold houses are killing people

Climate Change: we need to recycle excess profits arising from carbon prices so as to reduce fossil fuel use

A voice for domestic consumers in energy regulation

Cost of essential services – rising faster than benefits and incomes of low-income New Zealanders

These issues remain today, and some have worsened. But DEUN submissions on energy regulation cannot address any of them because of the narrow interpretation of electricity regulation. Only technocratic details are offered up for submission, incomprehensible to DEUN member groups.

Our submissions were always evidence-based. We recognized the electricity glut long ago, and predicted Mighty River Power could not write a credible prospectus. Its share prices proved us right. But some critical evidence is no longer published.

The next crisis is equally predictable. Electricity supply will be less resilient when the next dry year arrives. Privatisation supports maximizing profits. Shortages are profitable. Unprofitable power stations are now being closed, so price spikes are inevitable. The high prices will then be passed onto consumers.

The correct response is a change in Government strategy - to invest in more efficient use of energy whenever it is cheaper than new supply. The market should also pay consumers to switch off whenever shortages threaten. But energy efficiency and switching off both reduce profits.

So these changes require new strategy, and also a new purpose of regulation. They would lead to more jobs, less fossil fuel for electricity. The changes are political not technocratic.

DEUN can support no political party, hence Molly cannot continue as convenor. We therefore invite any people who are concerned about these and related issues to put themselves forward for the positions of Convenor and Secretary.

Molly will give such people full support, and hopes our organization will revitalize under new governance and management. Meanwhile she will continue to be available to the media, speaking now as an independent energy analyst rather than on behalf of any organization.

Ends

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