14 Jul 2015

Hydro levels high thanks to winter weather

1:41 pm on 14 July 2015

Official figures demonstrate that weeks of bad weather including floods have pushed New Zealand's hydro-electric dams from half empty to overflowing.

Waitaki dam

The Waitaki dam in North Otago. Photo: RNZ/ Ian Telfer

A parched summer and autumn which included drought in some places drained the nation's hydro storage lakes to a level way below average as winter approached.

But that all changed as winter finally hit and rain bucketed down.

The largest electricity company said torrential rain pushed hydro storage lakes to 111 percent of their average for this time of the year.

Meridian Energy said water inflows in June were 157 percent of the historical average.

It said South Island storage was now sitting at 113 percent of the average and North Island storage was at 105 percent.

The bad weather also pushed up electricity demand in June by 3.3 percent above the same level a year earlier.

The abundant rainfall also pulled down the price Meridian received for its electricity by 4.9 percent compared with the previous June.

However, average electricity prices received by Meridian for the 12 months ending in June were 13.3 percent higher, reflecting dry weather earlier.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs