14 Mar 2014

MPs told power bills should be split

12:59 pm on 14 March 2014

The head of Mighty River Power has made an impassioned plea to MPs to make power bills more transparent so consumers can clearly see who's to blame for rising power prices.

The energy company fronted up to a parliamentary select committee on Thursday afternoon for the first time since it was partially floated last year.

Chief executive Doug Heffernan told the MPs there's a lot of confusion about exactly who is responsible for rising power prices.

He said power bills should be split in two, with consumers getting one invoice for the energy charges and another for the lines charges - which are out of the control of companies like his.

"I am heartily sick of it, I'm absolutely up to the gills in it - which is why I'm saying, separate the bloody bills. I can't cause that to happen - only policy can do that. Separate the bills and be done with it - quickly."

But Energy Minister Simon Bridges isn't convinced.

"I don't think it's in consumers' interests to get several bills - one from transmission, one from lines company, one from the retailer. Look, I do think we've got to move over time to full transparency in bills, but I think that we want to do it right and we want to do it the best way possible."

Mr Bridges says the Electricity Authority is investigating waysof making bills more transparent and will report back in several months.

Mr Heffernan says Mighty River will not increase its prices until at least April 2015.