Surge in Auck­land power prices likely

Central Leader - - HOMES - RICHARD MEADOWS

A ma­jor over­haul of elec­tric­ity pric­ing could see Auck­land house­holds’ power bills hiked even more than pre­vi­ously ex­pected.

On May 17 the Elec­tric­ity Author­ity an­nounced pro­posed changes to make the pric­ing of the na­tional grid fairer.

A num­ber of re­gions would pay less for power, while Auck­land and North­landers who had ben­e­fited from ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment would pay more.

Auck­land cus­tomers col­lec­tively face an ex­tra $78 mil­lion worth of charges un­der the pro­posed new pric­ing.

The EA cal­cu­lated that the im­pact on an av­er­age res­i­den­tial cus­tomer in Auck­land would be about $58 to $66 a year.

How­ever, Auck­land elec­tric­ity dis­trib­u­tor Vec­tor is ques­tion­ing the EA’s num­bers, say­ing its own es­ti­mate was the cost would be sig­nif­i­cantly higher at $97 a year.

Vec­tor said busi­nesses would face a $148 in­crease, schools would face in­creases of around $1577, and large users would pay up to $22,000 more.

The EA has been ap­proached for com­ment.

Ac­cess to the grid, pro­vided by state-owned mo­nop­oly Trans­power, makes up about 10 per cent of the av­er­age house­hold power bill.

Un­der the EA’s pre­ferred op­tion, 14 re­gions would pay more than they do cur­rently, while 15 would pay less.

The over­all im­pact on res­i­den­tial prices would be an in­crease of 0.5 per cent, or $11 per house­hold per year.

The EA said that over time, the pro­posal would re­duce costs for the in­dus­try and prices for con­sumers.

That was be­cause it created a strong in­cen­tive for much more ef­fi­cient in­vest­ment, rather than the waste­ful ac­tiv­ity that oc­curred un­der the cur­rent regime.

Auck­land elec­tric­ity dis­trib­u­tor Vec­tor is ques­tion­ing the EA’s num­bers.

PHOTO: PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Vec­tor es­ti­mates Auck­lan­ders will pay an ex­tra $97 a year un­der the pro­posal.

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