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To eat or to heat?

Media Release

Monday 10 March 2014

To eat or to heat?

The latest round of pre-winter power price rises will squeeze the budgets of many New Zealanders with some unable to meet the additional charges, said Stephnie de Ruyter, Democrats for Social Credit Party Leader.

Although the power increases announced by Meridian and Genesis vary across the country, the daily fixed charge increase is in the region of a whopping 80%.

Consumers can’t economise to mitigate increases to the daily fixed charge: if you’re connected, you pay the charge. Home insulation reduces heating needs and solar powered hot water reduces power use but the daily fixed charge is like death and taxes – unavoidable, Ms de Ruyter said.

Children, the frail elderly, the sick, the poor must be able to live in warm, healthy homes. No-one in a resource-rich country like ours should have to choose between heating and eating.

The DSC proposes the introduction of Reserve Bank funded interest free loans for the installation of domestic photovoltaic systems to reduce dependence on electricity companies and the national grid.

A ten year roll out of installations starting with state houses then extending to low income families and Superannuitants would ensure that the most vulnerable New Zealanders have access to affordable power, Ms de Ruyter said.

In addition, households would benefit from this form of domestic generation as any surplus could be sold back and returned to the grid.

Ms de Ruyter noted that in the past the Reserve Bank loans were used to build infrastructure in New Zealand.

If we can build houses, bridges, roads, hospitals and other essential infrastructure using Reserve Bank credit facilities then we can certainly extend the mechanism to support the installation of domestic micro-generation for those who need it most, she said.


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