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Early Warning Of Electricity Constraints

Useful Early Warning Of Possible Auckland Electricity Constraints

The Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson, said he would be talking with electricity industry executives next week about possible supply constraints in Auckland this coming summer.

Mr Hodgson said Transpower, the operator of the national grid, had flagged concerns that a combination of factors could create the need for some increased management of electricity supply and demand in Auckland in the summer months.

Lake Taupo, which provides water storage for Waikato River hydro stations, is relatively low. Contact Energy's Otahuhu B power station in South Auckland may be unavailable due to maintenance problems. Genesis' Huntly power station may be unable to operate at full capacity due to resource consent limits on its ability to discharge cooling water to the Waikato River.

These factors, combined with transmission constraints in the central North Island, may affect the ability of the electricity system to meet demand in Auckland.

"Transpower has given a very useful early warning of possible supply constraints," Mr Hodgson said. "This enables the Government and the electricity industry to anticipate any difficulties and develop contingency plans for managing them effectively, minimising disruption to consumers.

" I will be talking with electricity industry executives next week about contingency planning. The focus is likely to be on energy efficiency initiatives and the possible use of demand management tools such as ripple control and management of air-conditioner use.

"Managing possible supply constraints is one of the basic functions of our electricity system and the possibility of such constraints is not unusual. Similar situations have been managed effectively before, including last summer. I expect power demand in Auckland this coming summer to be managed effectively again."

Ends

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