Recommendations from Government's Electricity Price Review will add to measures helping Ruapehu residents who can't afford to keep warm, mayor Don Cameron says.

Among the recommendations are seven aimed at reducing energy hardship. One is finding out who needs help, to better target subsidies like the Winter Energy Payment for people on pensions.

"Some people need twice that amount; others don't need it at all," Cameron said.

Another is funding to help households get more energy efficient.


A third recommendation ends prompt payment discounts, but allows energy companies to impose reasonable fees on late payers. That one could have some fishhooks, Cameron said.

He's heartened the recommendations will help with energy hardship and said the Government appears willing to help those most in need.

The review took 13 months and aims to make the electricity market fair and equitable to all. Members of its advisory panel heard from customers of Ruapehu provider The Lines Company in Te Kuiti in April.

The panel listened well, Cameron said, and some of the recommendations reflect suggestions at that meeting.

Customers of The Lines Company (TLC) used to complain its charging system made electricity more expensive. A review in 2017 resulted in a change to "time of use" charging.

There were winners and losers from that, Cameron said. People who can time their use of electricity win and holiday homeowners lose.

But energy hardship is not the top problem on the minds of Ruapehu residents. Transport comes well above that, he said.

And energy hardship is about more than the price of electricity. Low incomes and uninsulated houses play a part.


The council is getting help from the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to do a liveability study across the district. It will find out where residents need help with transport, housing, education and health, and make a business case to Government.

Added to that, TLC's Maru Energy Trust is aiming to insulate 200 Central North Island houses, and Ngāti Rangi's Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan is making progress on social needs in the Waimarino.

"They're really flying ahead on a lot of this stuff. We want to move that up north as well," Cameron said.