Editorial: Rising price of power keeps biting

By Andrew Austin

They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes.

I believe there is another one - regular electricity price hikes.

Barely a year goes by without electricity tariffs rising. The worst thing about it is that we are always told that it is absolutely necessary and that power supply could be compromised if prices do not rise. Most of us know absolutely nothing about the costs involved in electricity supply, but even the least suspicious person would reckon it could be supplied at a far cheaper rate.

The latest sting in the tail for long-suffering electricity users is from Hawke's Bay-based lines company Unison which says that increased electricity distribution charges will probably be passed on to us by retailers.

Unison has calculated if the retailers do so (which I know they will), the average household using 8000kW hours a year will be paying $10 more per month. That does not sound a lot, but it all adds up. The increase, effective from April will be repeated next year and incorporate higher Transpower (national grid) charges.

Unison's customer care and relationship manager Danny Gough said the Commerce Commission had identified 16 distribution companies, including Unison, that could raise their prices to ensure integrity of service.

Mr Gough said Unison realised that times were tough - "we are in a soft economy and it will have an impact on our consumers".

That is all well and good, but no matter what they say, it is about time that the electricity companies, be they suppliers, distributors or retailers, start looking at ways of making power cheaper, instead of merrily increasing the price on a regular basis.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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