Energy policy draws scorn from Bridges

By Anita Moran

3 comments
David Cunliffe rolled out Labour's electricity policy in Rotorua yesterday. Photo / Stephen Parker
David Cunliffe rolled out Labour's electricity policy in Rotorua yesterday. Photo / Stephen Parker

Tauranga residents could save up to $330 a year on their power bill under NZ Power, according to Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

The electricity policy was initially announced a year ago but was rolled out again by Mr Cunliffe while he was on the campaign trail in Rotorua yesterday.

The move has been shot down by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges who said Mr Cunliffe was just rehashing and re-announcing a discredited power plan. "We're recommitting to bringing electricity prices back under control using NZ Power. NZ Power will bulk buy electricity from all the generators and pass the savings on to New Zealanders," Mr Cunliffe said.

"We'll make sure that companies get a fair price for their product but it will be a price linked to how much it costs them to generate that electricity."

Labour's Energising New Zealand policy document states a new agency called NZ Power would act as a single buyer of wholesale electricity and would have the power to set prices based on operating costs and a fair return on capital.

"We are sick of hearing every time there is a power hike its everybody's fault, everybody's fault but the power generators and retailers," Mr Cunliffe said.

The policy document states power prices for the average household would drop by $230 to $330 a year, businesses would also see prices drop by between five and seven per cent, and the policy was also expected to create 5000 jobs and boost the economy by $450 million per annum.

Mr Bridges said for all of Labour's "bluff and bluster" about power prices, they didn't seem to be in any hurry to do anything about it.

"Despite rehashing and re-announcing their discredited power plan, Labour has backed away from their proposal, delaying its implementation until January, 1 2018 - two elections away.

"The reality is Labour's complex, costly and bureaucratic proposal will kill competition, threaten security of supply, and do nothing to lower power prices. And delaying their proposal will create uncertainty in the electricity market for more than three years," he said.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service co-ordinator Diane Bruin told the Bay of Plenty Times the policy could benefit hundreds of people in Tauranga.

She said power was the highest cost commodity for many people and some residents did not know how to manage the cost.

NZ Power

• The average household is expected to save between $230 and $330 a year
• Businesses could save between five and seven per cent on their yearly bill
• Electricity charges would be reduced by between $500m to $700m
• NZ Power would create more than 5000 jobs
• It would boost economic growth by $450m

- Energising New Zealand policy document

- Bay of Plenty Times

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