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Cleaning up National's energy mess

The Alliance says it will make a repeat of the Auckland power crisis highly unlikely.

Leader Jim Anderton released the Alliance energy policy today at a central Auckland business badly hit when the lights went out in Auckland last year.

He says the National-Act Government has made a mess of the energy sector and the Alliance would begin to clean it up.

The Alliance will put the publicly-owned generating companies back together with Transpower in a single trading enterprise which will be required to guarantee supply. The guarantee of supply which was a feature of the former Electricity Department, would also be extended to the privatised companies.

A guarantee of supply makes the electricity supplier liable for the costs of supply failure, instead of individual consumers and businesses bearing the cost when the lights go out. Since the potential liability can be very high, there is an enormous incentive on supply companies to maintain equipment in premium condition.

Lines systems will be subject to inspection every two years with results made public in another step to help to ensure security of supply.

'The Auckland power crisis resulted directly from National and Act's failed power reforms. Security of supply is a fundamental of the energy sector that National has completely ignored. New Zealanders expect the lights to come on when they flick the switch,' Jim Anderton said.

'The Alliance will clean up the mess that National and Act have created in the energy sector. No more publicly-owned energy assets will be privatised and the separation of Transpower and the generating companies will be reversed.

'The government's regulation of the energy sector is not working and seems to be designed to promote privatisati on of those companies remaining in public ownership. The regulations framework will be reviewed in its entirety.'

A new Sustainable Energy Commission will be created to provide specialised industry supervision and to develop suitable regulations. The Commerce Act will be strengthened to improve regulation of energy monopolies and to protect the public from the monopoly effects of line company take-overs.


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