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Govt profiteering from power crisis

Tony Ryall National Commerce Spokesperson

21 September 2001

Govt profiteering from crisis

Official papers released late today confirm that the Government has pocketed tens of millions of extra profit out of the power crisis, National's Commerce spokesman Tony Ryall said.

"Treasury papers finger the state-owned Genesis Energy as the big winner from the crisis.

"Rather than picking a few choice quotes from Government officials, it's what the report doesn't say that is interesting. It shows that the Government is clearly embarrassed by millions of dollars in profits being made by Genesis at the expense of small businesses, schools and hospitals.

"Genesis Power's Huntly station was only budgeted to run at 60% of its capacity, yet the report shows that when lakes were running low, capacity at the gas-fired station was upped to 100%. This resulted in more than 40% of the station's capacity being sold on the lucrative spot market, where prices reached up to six or seven times normal.

"The Treasury Report admits as much, saying 'the remainder of the generation output, however, will have fully benefited from the high wholesale spot prices in June'.

"This extraordinary profit-taking is confirmed despite Genesis CEO Murray Jackson telling the Holmes Show that the power company was making an 'insignificant amount' extra out of the crisis.

"If the amount is so insignificant why isn't the Government releasing the figures so New Zealanders can decide for themselves?

"All dollar amounts in the report have been blanked out so the Government obviously has something to hide, tens of millions of dollars in fact.

"Today's Treasury document predictably paints a picture of 'business as usual'. Try telling that to small businesses who had to pay through their teeth so the Government could make millions," Mr Ryall said.

Ends


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