King Country residents feeling ripped off by huge electricity charge increases

A sharp jump in line charges has enraged King Country residents, with some charges up by 77 per cent. 

Reviews are underway into the system used by a lines company in the region, which has previously been looked at by the Commerce Commission. Source: 1 NEWS

Pio Pio resident Susan Ngarotatata found out her lines bill is rising by more than $50, to $247 a month. 

"I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand how they can justify the price hike," she said. 

"What about the elderly, what the hell are they meant to do in the winter?"

Erin Wirihana's line charge has increased to $190, a rise of 77 per cent. 

"I don't think it's fair in one month's time to come up with this huge increase," Ms Wirihana said. 

"I can afford it, perhaps not comfortably, I didn't cater for it in my budget. But what about the people that didn't, what are they going to do?"

Residents also get a a separate bill from another company for the electricity used. 

They're trying to signal to us to use it when not everyone else is using it - Waitomo District Mayor Brian Hanna

The area's network operator is called the Lines Company, it stretches across nine per cent of the North Island from Te Kuiti to Ohakune. 

It takes a snapshot of customers' usage on winter evenings when peak pressure is being put on the network. 

People using a lot of power get a bigger lines bill the following year. 

Waitomo District Mayor Brian Hanna said the system is not communicated well by the lines company.

"They're trying to signal to us to use it when not everyone else is using it, which is difficult when everyone arrives home and wants to cook dinner and bath the kids at the same time," he said. 

The Lines Company points out for most customers, monthly bills are changing by less than five per cent, with some dropping. 

The pricing has been investigated by the Commerce Commission before, and now the electricity authority is taking a look. 

The Lines Company are also doing its own independent review where pricing equity, simplicity and transparency will be looked at. 

The report is due next month. 

The community is hoping for an end to its winters of discontent.