6 Mar 2014

Inquiry to check power retailers' claims

12:33 pm on 6 March 2014

The Electricity Authority says it will carry out a detailed inquiry into whether power price rises flagged by retail power companies are justified.

Genesis Energy's Tekapo B Power Station.

Genesis Energy's Tekapo B Power Station. Photo: GENESIS ENERGY

Earlier this week, lines company Vector said some consumers in Auckland have had letters from their retailers blaming price increases on Vector's line charges increasing.

Vector said, in fact, its weighted average charges will fall 2.4 percent from 1 April and that follows an 8.43 percent decline last year.

Wellington consumers are also getting letters blaming price increases on lines companies. Genesis Energy, for example, is raising its daily fixed charge from 101 cents to 183.91 cents, an 82 percent increase.

Electricity Authority chief executive Carl Hansen told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the conflict arises from tension between monopoly lines companies, which are regulated, and power retailers, which must respond to competition.

He said it's unacceptable that different parts of the industry blame each other for price increases.

Mr Hansen said his organisation's role is to promote the long-term interests of electricity consumers, and that starts with consumers being given the facts about matters of significant interest.

He said the authority has already put out a consultation paper looking at issues around the quality of retail price information and what can be done to improve it and the retail advisory group has been working on a paper to improve the transparency of information for consumers.

He said the authority will examine all documentation and data related to the price increases.