Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Families struggle as power prices rise


Wanganui power bills jumped by $90 in the last year, latest figures reveal.

A local budget advisor warns rising prices are causing havoc for Wanganui residents on low and fixed incomes.

Figures from a Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry survey show average household power costs increased by $90 in the 12 months to February in Wanganui. Nationally, average power bills were up $121.

The MBIE survey compared electricity prices available to new customers on February 15, to rates offered on the same day last year.

Otaihape Maori Komiti budget co-ordinator Shadrack Simi said many residents were struggling to cover basic living costs like food and rent.

"And power has gone up across the board ... and I think we'll see it again coming into winter."

In Wanganui, about 100 Energy Online customers experienced the largest increase in local prices over the 12 month period ($165).

Part of this rise was due to a $61 increase in Powerco lines charges.

Mr Simi said those worse affected by rising power costs were families with young children, single-income households and students.

Consumer NZ recommended customers "shop around" to ensure they receive the cheapest rates. People should compare plans across different power companies, chief executive Sue Chetwin said.



Average power price increases

Feb 2012 - Feb 2013

Region Price      Increase

Southland           $194.22

Northland            $176.72

Otago                   $162.38

Christchurch       $150.16

Tauranga             $138.85

Auckland              $127.73

Rotorua                $115.24

Wairarapa            $111.19

Hawkes Bay        $110.82

Wellington            $101.45

Wanganui               $90.56

Waikato                   $89.87

Dunedin                  $79.49

National                $121.32

Figures calculated by Powershop, sourced from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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