Greens un­veil power policy for the win­ter

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - STACEY KIRK

More than half a mil­lion houses will have their win­ter power bills par­tially paid for un­der a new Green Party policy to slash bills by up to $300 a year.

The ‘‘Win­ter Warm Up’’ pay­ments were one part of a new Green Party power policy, un­veiled last week.

The party has also set a goal for 100 per cent re­new­able en­ergy by 2030, and new rules to en­cour­age com­pe­ti­tion and trans­parency within the elec­tric­ity in­dus­try.

Re­leased by co-leader James Shaw and the party’s en­ergy spokesman Gareth Hughes, the policy would com­mit $112 mil­lion for bill sub­si­dies and re­quire New Zealand’s 29 lines com­pa­nies to con­sider joint ven­tures and merg­ers.

‘‘It is un­ac­cept­able that so many Kiwi fam­i­lies are get­ting sick be­cause they can’t af­ford to switch the heater on,’’ Hughes said.

The sub­sidy would cover 75 per cent of the av­er­age win­ter cost in­crease, and would vary re­gion to re­gion.

A house­hold in the warmer Auck­land cli­mate could re­ceive a to­tal win­ter pay­ment of $206.91.

In or­der to achieve 100 per cent re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion, the Greens would place a ban on new fos­sil fuel gen­er­a­tion.

Shaw said some of the com­pa­nies the party con­sulted with in de­vel­op­ing the policy did not be­lieve the tar­get was nec­es­sary or re­al­is­tic.

‘‘Set­ting a goal for 100 per cent re­new­able elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion is bold, achiev­able and the right thing to do for our planet,’’ said Hughes. There were eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for the en­ergy sec­tor.

‘‘We’ll make sure lines com­pa­nies con­sider af­ford­able bat­ter­ies (to store power), and other new tech­nol­ogy al­ter­na­tives be­fore they build ex­pen­sive new power lines.’’

Reg­u­la­tion changes would also re­quire re­tail­ers to pro­vide itemised power bills to cus­tomers, so they could see whether any in­crease in price was be­ing driven by in­vest­ment in new trans­mis­sion net­works, new power sta­tions or some­thing else.

The Greens would en­cour­age in­dus­try and third par­ties to de­velop mar­ket platforms and tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions to en­able per­son-to-per­son trad­ing of elec­tric­ity.

The 29 lines com­pa­nies, op­er­at­ing in New Zealand, would be encouraged to op­er­ate joint ven­tures or merge if ap­pro­pri­ate.

CHRIS­TEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Green’s Gareth Hughes says some fam­i­lies can’t af­ford to run heaters.

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