1 Aug 2020

Power bill rise on the cards for Central Otago

9:34 am on 1 August 2020

Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes residents could be hit with a $30 a month increase in power prices if a proposal by Aurora Energy goes ahead.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ / Russell Palmer

The company has signalled it needs to make significant investments over the next decade to fix its network.

Historic under-investment in the network has resulted in an increasing number of safety incidents and unplanned power cuts.

Now Aurora Energy has made an application to the Commerce Commission for $383 million over the next three years for upgrades.

It's proposing to increase residential power bills between $20 and $30 a month to help cover the costs.

The Commerce Commission's role is to set network reliability standards as well as determining how much money the company can recover from customers.

Associate commissioner John Crawford said the commission will consider if spending can be deferred, reduced or recovered over a longer period to soften the price shocks.

"In making these decisions we also have to consider Aurora's financial stability and its ability to complete necessary work to fix it's network.

"We want to hear consumer preferences for price increases and we want to know if they are willing to pay more in total due to interest costs in order to smooth the price increases over a longer period," Commissioner Crawford said.

The public can have their say about the proposal via the Commerce Commission's website.

Consultation on the proposal closes at the end of August.

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