Lobby groups call for 'pause button' on power pricing change

Employers and manufacturers, electricity distributors, farmers and local authorities are all calling for a re-think of a proposal that would see households and businesses in some parts of the country face higher power  bills. 

There are two issues under review – how we pay for power to be moved and how generators sell in to the market. Source: 1 NEWS

The Electricity Authority is reviewing how we pay for power to be moved around the country and how generators sell into the market, and has come up with a scheme that has the lobby groups up in arms.

Fraser Jonker of Pioneer Energy says the cost for the company to get its energy away from the historic Roaring Meg Power Station in Central Otago "will cost us more than what we can get in the market for it".

That could see 96 independent generators, which make up 10 per cent of New Zealand's electricity production, dead in the water.

"As proposed by the authority, it would pretty much cripple us," said David Inch of NZ Energy.

A meeting called by the Independent Electricity Generators Association saw a big turnout in Cromwell yesterday. 

"This is a fundamental change to our system and we believe it has been rushed through," Mr Jonker said.

ONE News offered the Electricity Authority and Energy Minister Simon Bridges the chance to respond to the IEGA's concerns, but they both declined, citing the review process is still ongoing.

Kim Campbell of the Employers and Manufacturers Association says they think the authority and the Government "need to press the live pause button" on the proposal.

The Far North Mayor, John Carter, estimates households in his area could be up for as much as $300 a year more on their power bills.

"This is significant for the nation and it's significant for the consumers who are the people who are going to end up writing a cheque out," Mr Carter said. 

The EMA polled 2,000 New Zealanders and says a strong majority don't want cheaper electricity if it means other Kiwis will have to pay more. 

The authority is meeting on October 5 and it's not known when its final decision will be made.

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