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Power Users May Face Extra Bill Of $165 Million

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

25 June 2008 - Labour is being forced to consider a plan that will load an extra bill of $165 million onto power bills, even before the Emissions Trading Scheme kicks in, says National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"This is set to be Labour's mid-year Christmas present to electricity consumers, a whopping great bill linked to this year's hydro-power shortages."

In a package totalling up to $165 million, the Electricity Commission says it may require a further $50 million for purchasing reserve energy, and between $55 million and $110 million extra for fuel to run Whirinaki.

"The Electricity Commission suggests that large energy users will be asked to continue cutting back on production to save electricity, and alongside that the Commission's asking for a further $5 million to run its own public power saving campaign later in the year."

The comments are contained in a consultation paper on a change proposal for reserve energy and emergency measures.

"The paper makes it clear that security of electricity supply in New Zealand is a live issue and will continue to be so for some time."

Mr Brownlee says that's not surprising, since the country's relying on a broken-down Cook Strait cable, a mothballed thermal generator at New Plymouth, and the diesel guzzling emergency plant at Whirinaki.

Between January and the end of April, Whirinaki burned 10,402,704 litres of diesel and that was before it cranked up emergency production in May and June.

"The papers confirm that diesel generator is costing New Zealanders a small fortune in fuel.

"Energy Minister David Parker might have thought he'd weathered the worst of the storm surrounding electricity shortages. The Electricity Commission makes it clear, he hasn't."

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