Local power bills up $100

By Teuila Fuatai

The average Wairarapa power bill jumped by more than $100 this year.

Figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show average power costs increased by $108 in the year to November 15.

The increase comes amid spiralling petrol and food costs and record unemployment.

Nationally, power bills rose by an average of $117 - although some consumers were hit by increases of more than $400 this year.

Locally, Energy Online customers saw the biggest hike in charges this year as the company increased its power prices by $189.

Company spokesman Richard Gordon said higher network costs had contributed to the rise.

It had also been two years since Energy Online had reviewed its prices in Wairarapa, he said.

"In that time, there's been significant increases across the board in network charging and other costs."

Mr Gordon suggested a "price review" was not necessary last year as the company had very few customers in the Wairarapa.

According to the MBIE, about 1 per cent of Wairarapa power consumers were Energy Online customers in the 12 months to November 15.

The region's largest energy provider - Genesis Energy - increased prices by $115 for the period, affecting 53 per cent of the region's power consumers.

TrustPower customers experienced no change as the company chose not to increase charges.

Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent said where energy companies' prices had increased, this was mainly due to higher transmission prices and more expensive retail costs.

He expected power prices to edge higher next year as costs associated with the national power grid upgrade filtered through to consumers.

"On average, I think most people would expect to see relatively flat prices, maybe a slight increase," Mr Sargent said.

"You expect from an end user customer point of view that most households should pay similar to what they're paying this year.

"They shouldn't be expecting a large increase in most cases."

Households in the King Country were least affected by power hikes - average bills rose $28 in the past year.

Far North residents were slammed with the largest power price increase, of $306. APNZ


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