COMMENT:

Don't expect cheaper electricity prices anytime soon.

In fact if you're a good manager of your household finances, and that's apparently 60 per cent of you, then chances are your power bills are going to rise.

Up until now if you paid your power bill early, you would get a prompt payment discount.

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By some strange logic they are now seen as a late payment fee in disguise because they impact on those who can't pay their bills on time and end up copping a late payment penalty.

And if you are with a retail power company and you go online and find a better deal elsewhere then under the new rules you won't be allowed to go back to your supplier and expect them to match it. No more what they call 'win-backs'.

Instead the Government wants to see even more electricity retail companies out there bidding for your business.

But if you don't know how to shop for power deals, a process Energy Minister Megan Woods says is confusing (particularly for the vulnerable who are not good with computers and have bad internet connections) then there'll be a pilot scheme to navigate you through the system.

One thing Woods, who's like an Energiser bunny in the Beehive with more portfolios than you can poke a lightsaber at, is right about is that there are a lot of moving parts to her power plan - and change won't be immediate.

She's got to get what she calls the 'gentailers' on board, they're the power generators who sell their wholesale electricity to the companies who read our meters.

Woods is demanding they sell their mainly hydro-generated product to the companies vying for our business at an affordable rate, although what that is hasn't been spelt out.

Whatever it is three of the gentailers, Meridian, Mercury and Genesis, will have little choice given they're majority owned by the government.

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The other two, Contact and Trustpower, are privately owned but will be expected to toe the line - or else.

They are warned there will be a backstop law waiting in the wings to impose regulation when and if it's required.

A determination on whether that's used, and whether discount rates are being passed on to all consumers, says Woods rather confidently, will be made in their second term in government.

If this Government is still wondering why it's seen by business as belligerent, it should reflect on the moves it's made this week.

Telling power gentailers how to run their businesses is one thing - but telling banks they're not allowed to close any more provincial branches for at least a year while a hub system is trialled is four far-flung towns is another.

And that's just one week's work.