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Electricity campaign won’t reduce prices

MAJOR ELECTRICITY USERS' GROUP


Friday, 27 July 2001

For immediate release

Electricity campaign won’t reduce prices


A Government campaign to encourage lower electricity use has been welcomed by the Major Electricity Users Group (MEUG), but it says the campaign will not immediately do anything about the extraordinarily high prices currently harming the economy.

Terrence Currie, Chairman of MEUG, said a conservation campaign was only one part of the answer to reduce the crisis, which was a combination of low hydro inflows, high prices and an uncompetitive market.

“This is a crisis that won’t be fixed just by conservation – we need the government and energy industry to manage the market to ration power at a price everyone can afford.

“We are looking forward to the second summit on Tuesday to address these remaining issues,” Mr Currie said.

He said high prices and lack of competition has already cost the economy many millions of dollars.

“Some generators have been making huge profits at the expense of New Zealand businesses, and the electricity retailers who do not have enough supply.

“Even if a conservation campaign works, we will emerge from this crisis with a discredited wholesale electricity market. Consumers once again have been traded as chattels.

“The Government must ensure that there is an urgent review of the electricity markets performance,” Mr Currie said.

ends

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