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Headline CPI hides rising electricity prices

17 April 2013
Headline CPI hides rising electricity prices

The low headline Consumer Price Index change hides significant rises in electricity prices, the Green Party said today.

Statistics New Zealand Consumer Price Index (CPI) data shows that electricity prices were up 5.2 percent for the March year, meaning prices have risen 18.8 percent since National took office.

“Families are paying too much for power,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“Power prices have gone up 5.2 percent this year, which means the average family is paying $100 more this year to stay warm and dry. For low or fixed income families, that’s the difference between turning the heater on or leaving it off.

“Under National, power prices have gone up 19 percent even before National’s asset sale programme, which is only going to make matters worse for kiwi families and businesses.”

On average, privately-owned electricity companies charge 12% – 3 cents per kilowatt hour –more than publicly-owned electricity companies.

“Privately-owned power companies charge around $275 more a year more for the average household,” Dr Norman said.

“Private investors have a higher cost of capital than the Crown, so they need bigger profits to make a fair return on investment.

“If National pushes ahead with asset sales, our publicly-owned power companies will come under pressure to meet the interests of their private shareholders and increase their profits by lifting their prices.

“The demands of private investors would force our public power companies to charge higher us more for electricity," said Dr Norman.

The Green Party will be announcing new policy to reduce prices for families and businesses tomorrow jointly with the Labour Party at 12PM in the Legislative Council Chambers, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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