A measly 108 submissions to the Government's major review of New Zealand electricity pricing is being interpreted as either a vote of confidence or an indication of the complexity of the issue.

Electricity Networks Association chief executive Graeme Peters, who said he's read every one of them, was surprised at the low number but believes by and large the response - or lack of it - shows the industry "is doing a pretty good job".

"That said, there are plenty of improvements which could be made," Peters said.

But Consumer head of research Jessica Wilson has a different take.


She believes 108 responses is likely to reflect the complexity of the issues for the average electricity consumer.

The recent review of credit law had received only 86 submissions.

The low response to the electricity pricing review doesn't mean consumers are happy with their power bills or how they are being calculated, Wilson said.

The way people responded to reviews and surveys depended on what questions were asked of them.

"Our annual cost of living survey found 67 per cent of consumers were concerned about what they paid for electricity.

"Our survey research this year also found 18 per cent of consumers had experienced financial difficulty paying for power in the past 12 months."

Most households surveyed, 77 per cent, reported they were trying to reduce their power costs, Wilson said.

Statistics NZ data showed the amount households are paying for electricity increased by 2.5 per cent in the year to September.

Most of the 108 submissions to the pricing review were from industry participants and large companies.


One private submitter who struggled with the submission red tape was Canterbury University chemical and process engineering department associate professor Ken Morison, who wanted to be involved because of a personal and academic interest in energy.

"I put in a submission but was nearly put off by the scale of the task and the format that was requested for the submission. There wasn't any encouragement to submit on just one aspect though I'm sure that was possible. I'm not surprised there weren't many submissions."

Peters said the number of submissions was not as many as expected for a review which the Government said "shines a spotlight on the problems pushing up power prices for Kiwi families".

He said it took him two days to read all the submissions, some of which were very large - for example, Trustpower's 108 pager, and many focused on one or two key points.

"In nearly 25 years working near Parliament, I've seen many more submissions on a Government review or proposed law change. For example, the recent amendment to the Crown Minerals Act drew 2283 submissions and that excludes the 5000 form submissions organised by Greenpeace."

The review, being conducted by a panel under the oversight of MBIE, published its first report recently. Its final report is due in May.