2 Oct 2013

Labour, Greens policy power attracts support

7:41 am on 2 October 2013

Infratil supports the part of the Labour and Green Parties' policy which would separate generation from retailing.

Infratil owns 50.4% of TrustPower, an electricity retailer and generator in Tauranga, and Infratil executive Tim Brown said some form of separation would help to improve transparency in consumer pricing.

"It's a good thing because it creates transparency so it means that at the moment, if you've got an integrated company ... you've never quite sure of exactly where the pricing is coming from and if pricing is being done transparently," he said.

"So if you separated the companies out, you would end up with a much higher level of transparency."

The flip slide of that was whether it would have a great deal of impact for the average household customer, Mr Brown said.

"It would make the industry much clearer, and there are benefits in that and perhaps it would actually spur innovation but, right now, it seems that all of the industry reviews show that retailing is actually highly competitive today, so people are not exactly earning excess profits out of that line of business."

Infratil also owns an independent energy retailer in Australia which allowed its books to be seen.

"... You can see precisely what that business is making per customer, so it makes it very transparent what it is charging and what it is earning on a per customer-type basis," Mr Brown said.

"If you want that type of transparency, you could do it by way of the separation."