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Revealed: Electricity Authority propose further power cost increases for the people of Franklin

9 February 2017

Counties Power’s consumers are now in line for even higher power costs in the future, if transmission price methodology changes proposed by the Electricity Authority go ahead.

Counties Power received formal advice on Tuesday from the Electricity Authority advising that they have made a 33 percent error in the calculation of proposed changes to Transpower’s transmission charges, meaning the local impact of this was even worse than had been first thought.

“This means power consumers in the area could suffer an annual increase in power costs of nearly $100 per year for an average household.  Large power users such as businesses in the local region could be in line for huge cost increases of many thousands of dollars per year,” says Counties Power Chief Executive Sheridan Broadbent.

“This process started in 2012, and to have mistakes of this magnitude at the eleventh hour simply highlights the lack of trust and confidence held by many in the entire review.  This is evidenced by significant local and international expert analysis opposing the proposal over the last four years, most of which the Electricity Authority appears to have ignored.”

“The cost increases for the national grid will negatively impact every power consumer in the Counties area, and while the impact could be extremely high on local businesses, it will be most noticeable to those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners and beneficiaries, who simply cannot afford another major increase in power costs,” she says.

“The increases would not even contribute towards grid improvements for the country, or our region, but would have the immediate effect of reducing charges to some South Island electricity generators and large industries.”

“Counties Power is working tirelessly on behalf of our power consumers, be they large businesses or small households, to have this entire process by the Electricity Authority completely reviewed, and to keep power costs down for customers.   The company is working with our trust owners, EMA Northern and other industry organisations to call for an independent review of the proposed new pricing model,” Ms Broadbent says.

She says, “I appreciate that the Chief Executive of the Authority personally phoned me on Friday to take me through the issue of the calculation error before publishing a corrected document yesterday and respect his professionalism.  But this doesn’t help our consumers.  Counties Power has contacted local Members of Parliament, Andrew Bayly and newly appointed Energy and Resources Minister, Hon. Judith Collins, to convey its concerns.”

ENDS

Notes:

Worst hit by the Electricity Authority’s proposed price increases are customers in the north of the country (Franklin, Auckland and Northland), and Westland. The Electricity Authority’s proposal increases the costs of transmission of power by Transpower from where the power is generated to consumers.  Counties Power, and those it has joined with to fight the proposed changes, argue that the cost of the national grid, the backbone of the country’s electricity system, should remain shared across all of New Zealand, as occurs with the nation’s roads, rail and phone infrastructure.

Counties Power has joined with Counties Power Consumer Trust, Vector, Entrust, EMA Northern, Norske Skog, Auckland Federated Farmers, Northpower, Top Energy and Trustpower to call for the independent review of the Electricity Authority’s transmission pricing proposals. 

The Electricity Authority’s error statement can be found here: https://www.ea.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21723

 


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