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Green MP’s Member’s Bill To Establish Fairer, More Innovative Electricity Market

A new Member’s Bill lodged by a Green Party MP would help Aotearoa New Zealand’s electricity market become more affordable and accessible for consumers while supporting use of more sustainable energy.

“New Zealand’s electricity market is dominated by a mindset which prevents innovation and denies consumers cheaper electricity,” says Scott Willis, the MP behind the Electricity Industry (Separation of Generation and Retail Businesses) Amendment Bill.

“We are all participants in the energy system, and by making it fairer we can more easily transition to a low-carbon economy with affordable, secure and plentiful energy.

“My member’s bill is designed to prevent price gouging by big electricity companies and provide better options for independent generators.

“In order to provide transparency and competition for the benefit of consumers, this Bill would require separation of generation and retail functions. This would prevent the unfair market dominance that leads to big players rigging the system - which in turns creates higher prices, and lower investment in renewables.

“Last year when the Commerce Commission received complaints from independent electricity retailers about predatory pricing and the misuse of market power by the four major gentailers, the Commission kicked the problem back to the Electricity Authority with little effect. It’s time for real action to do something about it and make sure the electricity sector is fit for purpose for the 21st century.

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“My member’s bill will clarify the responsibilities of the Electricity Authority and enable it to fulfil its statutory objective to promote competition in, reliable supply by, and efficient operation of, the electricity industry for the long-term benefit of everyone in Aotearoa.

“This Bill could proceed straight to the House if a simple majority of non-executive MPs sign their support for it to be debated. If the Government wants to adopt this bill or the substance of it, I’d welcome that. We have solutions at our fingertips and now is the time to act,” says Scott Willis.

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