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Minister Of Energy And Resources Announced Today

The Electricity Networks Association (ENA), which represents New Zealand’s 27 electricity lines companies, welcomed the re-appointment of Dr Megan Woods as Minister of Energy and Resources.

ENA chief executive, Graeme Peters, said the ENA looked forward to working with the Minister and to make real progress on issues that would benefit electricity consumers.

“ENA has built a strong working relationship with Dr Woods as the Minister of Energy and Resources in the previous coalition, and we look forward to that continuing.

“It is particularly pleasing that the energy portfolio will have continuity at a time when there is still much work to complete from the Electricity Pricing Review begun by Dr Woods.”

The Government’s ability to pursue its own agenda without being slowed by the necessity of coalition compromises gave it a freer run to implement the recommendations of the review, he said.

One of the review’s key recommendations was to set up an electricity consumer advocacy council to ensure a greater voice for consumers in the electricity sector.

“Officials are now reporting back to Cabinet on this, so we would hope to see this council being in place without too much further delay.”

Similarly, Peters said the Government’s acceptance of the Electricity Price Review’s recommendation to transition away from the unfair low fixed charge regulations should now proceed apace.

“This will deliver lower electricity prices to the larger low-income families who had been disadvantaged by the regulations.”

Another area where ENA expected the new Government to be able to act with renewed determination was the review of the electricity industry’s existing tree hazard regulations that was currently being undertaken by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

“Trees can cause up to 80 percent of power cuts in storms, so it’s critical for all consumers to have fit-for-purpose regulations which improve lines companies’ abilities to manage the threat presented by trees growing too close to lines.”

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