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Industry proves effective during power crisis anniversary

Industry proves effective during power crisis anniversary

22 November 2017

New Zealand’s electricity industry has effectively managed yet another dry winter, further demonstrating vast improvements which avoid asking New Zealanders to save power.

It’s been 25 years since one of the worst power crises in New Zealand’s history: in the winter of 1992 street lights were turned off, people faced hot water restrictions and the country’s major industrial power user had to cut consumption by a third.

Just shy of a decade later in 2001, and then again 2003 and 2008, Kiwis were asked to voluntarily cut electricity use when dry winters occurred.

In an opinion piece published today Electricity Authority Chief Executive Carl Hansen says a similar situation could have happened this winter, if regulatory changes hadn’t been made.

“The two changes that have had the biggest impact have been the introduction of transparency measures for retail electricity companies and large industrial customers and a plan where customers are compensated if they are asked to conserve power,” Mr Hansen says.

“Both of these changes have cut out opportunities for electricity companies to lobby for a public conservation campaign.

“This last winter has been one of the driest on record for the Southern hydro lakes, and yet the industry managed the challenge without it impacting significantly on household consumers.”

Mr Hansen says the Authority will carry out a detailed review of the winter.

“There are always opportunities to learn from these experiences and we can’t be complacent when dealing with the reliability of electricity supply.”


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