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Electricity Authority Fought For Generators To Pocket $130 Million During Power Blackout

The High Court has ruled against the Electricity Authority's imposition of scarcity pricing on 9 August 2021. Scarcity pricing meant that electricity generators stood to gain a windfall profit of $130 million dollars from New Zealanders on the same day 34,000 thousands Kiwi homes
needlessly experienced blackouts.

The case, taken by parties including Electric Kiwi , relates to the actions of the Electricity Authority in defending Transpower’s imposition of scarcity pricing on August 9 2021, that needlessly bumped up the price of electricity and the profits of the big gentailers.

“Both the Electricity Authority and Transpower failed to do their job. They’ve let consumers down while handing generators windfall profits. It’s simply abhorrent,” Electric Kiwi CEO Like Blincoe said.

“It’s bad enough Transpower failed to manage the grid properly on August 9 2021 resulting in 34,000 homes losing power. But for the Electricity Authority to go on defending Transpower’s decision to illegally implement scarcity pricing, which resulted in the price of electricity soaring while the lights were out, is an abandonment of their duty to protect consumers.”

“It raises real questions of trust about the Electricity Authority’s ability to do their job for consumers when they fought in court to protect the $130 million windfall profit the electricity generators stood to make that day.”

The Electricity Industry Act 2010 says the Electricity Authority has a single statutory objective - ‘to promote competition in, reliable supply by, and the efficient operation of, the electricity industry for the long-term benefit of consumers’.”

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“The evidence suggests the Electricity Authority is ignoring their core objective and cares more about the big power companies profits than they do about consumers power bills.”

“The fact the Electricity Authority is now saying as a result of this judgment it will investigate an Undesirable Trading Situation (UTS) relating to events of 9 August 2021, when they previously refused to do so, looks like a case of sour grapes and looks like they are thumbing its nose at the High Court judgment.

“Rather than accepting the outcome of the High Court judgment the Electricity Authority is yet again wasting resources to try to manufacture an outcome that justifies the decisions made that day. It’s time to look forward not backwards, accept the High Court ruling and move on.

“If the Authority decides there was a UTS on 9 August then the remedy for that could be the imposition of scarcity pricing. But the High Court has ruled the legal test for that wasn’t met.

Someone needs to tell the EA to pull their head in and stop trying to find new and invective ways to justify their past incorrect decisions.

“The Court has said the Electricity Authority needs to remedy the matter. We call on the Authority to restore New Zealand’s confidence that they will act fairly and impartially in the future to protect consumer interests.”

“Electric Kiwi took this action because we believe the Electricity Authority isn’t doing its job of standing up for consumers and someone needs to. We didn't benefit from it, but we will keep standing up against the big gentailers and regulators in our quest for a fairer deal for New Zealand consumers.”

“New Zealand needs to have confidence in our electricity market. This case has highlighted real gaps in how Transpower operates the grid and how the Electricity Authority regulates it. We urge the Government to take a close look at how well each is doing their job on behalf of Kiwi households, especially in a cost of living crisis,” Luke Blincoe said.

© Scoop Media

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