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Nth Island major beneficiaries of Cook Strait link

Media Release

For immediate release: Friday 7 October 2005

North Island major beneficiaries from Cook Strait power link, says Meridian

Meridian Energy has dismissed a suggestion that South Island power generators should pay for the upgrade of the HVDC power link between the North and South Islands.

The suggestion comes from the Employers and Manufacturers' Association (Northern), whose Advocacy Manager Bruce Goldsworthy says South Island generators should pay because they are the main beneficiaries.

Meridian chief executive Keith Turner says in fact the major beneficiaries from the link are North Island power consumers.

"North Island power prices would be much higher than they are now if they weren't able to benefit from South Island hydro power via the HVDC link. North Island consumers only need to think back to what happened to their prices in 2001 when the South Island hydro lakes ran low and South Island power was in short supply."

Dr Turner says the HVDC link is part of the wider national grid, and it makes no sense to charge for one part of the grid on a different basis from the rest.

Earlier today Dr Turner welcomed the plan by Transpower to upgrade the link, saying the success of the country's electricity market is dependent on having a robust and unconstrained national grid.

ENDS

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