Time for power price inquiry

Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins claims the electricity market is more competitive than ever, but this has not stopped power bills rising around the country making it difficult for many Kiwi families and businesses, says New Zealand First Energy Spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau. 

“Answering questions in Parliament today, she claimed average household spending on power was reasonable compared with other countries. 

“In fact, power prices have skyrocketed 148 per cent since National made so-called reforms of the electricity sector in 1998 which were meant to lower prices. 

“Also, she could not explain today how wholesale electricity prices, for example at Otahuhu, average just over six cents a kilowatt hour but become 29 cents a kilowatt hour once sold to customers and small businesses. 

“Last year Mercury, Meridian and Genesis made after tax profits of over half a billion dollars while many ordinary Kiwis have a battle to pay their power bills. 

“It’s time the government called for a full-scale inquiry into retail power prices which the Australian government did even though their prices are even cheaper than ours. 

“Any inquiry into the retail electricity market must include a review of the Electricity Authority and the future operations of our lines network,” says Mr Tabuteau.

SOURCE: Office of Fletcher Tabuteau