9 Dec 2017

Electricity companies pushing up prices, govt told

8:34 pm on 9 December 2017

The incoming government has been told New Zealand has far too many local electricity companies, and they are pushing up prices.

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Photo: RNZ / Russell Palmer

There are 29 local lines companies, some of them confined to small areas or even single towns, and often controlled by local trusts.

Lines companies have been chided in the past for extraneous investments such as buying into a vineyard.

And regular reports to the Commerce Commission have found deferred expenditure on essential equipment like power poles and transformers.

In a briefing to the incoming Minister of Energy and Resources, Genesis Energy said there should be either fewer lines companies or they should be made to use standardised systems.

Meridian Energy also questioned the efficiency of having 29 separate companies in a small country.

It also suggested these companies bore most of the responsibility for electricity price rises.

Figures from the Electricity Authority show retail prices have risen about 20 percent since 2010.

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