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Northern Energy Group welcomes the Electricity Price Review

The Northern Energy Group (NEG), welcomes the final report of the Electricity Price Review (EPR) and congratulates the work of the Minister, the Panel, and the Secretariat from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in undertaking the Review.

The NEG considers the review a necessary step to highlight issues which impact energy customers - such as electricity affordability, and strengthening the voice of the customer in decision making. As stated by Andrew McLeod, Chief Executive of Northpower, one of the NEG members, “as networks who are wholly or majority owned by our customers, we welcome the work of the EPR to shed light on issues which impact our communities. This review has been a necessary step to address the impact of electricity prices on consumers experiencing energy hardship, and to ensure that customers have a voice in decisions which impact them. We look forward to working with Government to ensure that these findings are actioned and have meaningful impact for customers”.

The NEG welcomes the establishment of a Consumer Advisory Council to strengthen customer voices in regulatory decision making announced today.

The release comes further to the Interim Climate Change Commission’s report Accelerated Electrification. In this report, the Commission recognised the importance of energy affordability for the sector’s transition to a low emissions future. As stated by Commission Chair, David Prentice, “accelerated electrification will not happen if electricity is too expensive”.

Keeping prices low requires solutions for inefficiencies which exist in today’s energy market – the NEG therefore welcomes the action for the Electricity Authority (EA) to expedite work to make smart meter data available to electricity distributors. This will enable targeted network investments, better outage response and more customer centric network services.

However, ensuring energy is affordable into the future requires a proactive approach to avoid future drivers of cost. With the electrification of transport, avoiding future costs will require a smart network response and the integration of new technology and innovation. The Group therefore welcomes the Government Policy Statement for the EA and Commerce Commission to have regard to the Government’s objectives for more energy sector innovation.

As stated by Counties Power Chief Executive and CEO of one of the NEG members, Judy Nicholl, “we know that the energy sector is on the brink of significant change - technology and innovation will be key to affordability and consumer choice in the future. We expect the role of this technology and the form of regulation to be changing. We therefore support the initiative to explore new institutional arrangements for energy policy and regulation. From an NEG perspective we want to ensure that the interests of northern regional customers are supported through this change.”

The Northern Energy Group has formed around shared regional interests and a common belief that consumer voices need to be stronger in industry and government decision-making. We see the sector as being on the brink of significant change and opportunity and we want to lead a new energy future with the voices and interests of our communities at the centre.

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