Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Hardship Report Offers Sensible, Practical Steps To Help Those Struggling With Power Bills

New Zealand’s electricity watchdog, the Consumer Advocacy Council, hopes decision-makers and regulators have a good hard look at the Energy Hardship Expert Panel report into ways to make life easier for those struggling with power bills.

The Panel recently completed an extensive two-year project examining the extent of energy hardship in New Zealand and what could be done to alleviate the problem.

The panel’s report can be read here.

"We know from our own work that many people are doing it tough right now and more can be done to help them," said Consumer Advocacy Council Chair Deborah Hart.

"MBIE estimates that 110,000 households can’t afford to keep their homes adequately warm - that’s about 300,000 people, so it’s high time more was done to ease the burden on so many.

"Electricity is not a nice to have. It’s an essential service and often people are terribly impacted when they face disconnection or sacrifice other things to keep the stove on and the house warm.

"As the report states, ‘Without doubt, energy hardship exacerbates social inequalities by disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities, including Māori, Pacific peoples, tenants, disabled people, older people, children, and those living in remote areas.’

"We concur with many of the recommendations which echo what we’ve been saying for some time, including:

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The Electricity Authority’s Consumer Care Guidelines should be a set of enforceable rules with penalties for retailers who don’t comply.

The Electricity Authority should require retailers to notify their residential customers of the most affordable plan.

Data related to the use of prepay accounts and disconnections should be tracked and published.

"This report has been two years in the making - the panel has taken a deep dive into the issue of hardship, and we believe its valuable work deserves careful consideration by the incoming government and regulators," said Deborah Hart.

The Consumer Advocacy Council

The Consumer Advocacy Council is the independent advocate for residential and small business electricity consumers in Aotearoa New Zealand. It aims to protect the interests of more than five million residential consumers and half a million small businesses in relation to electricity. The council was established last year following a recommendation from the 2018/19 Electricity Pricing Review which found that small electricity consumers were struggling to be heard by the electricity sector. Our aim is to be a strong voice for small consumers by providing evidence-based advocacy on policy and regulatory consultations, and in decision-making processes.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.