Greens unveil power policy for the winter
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.
The Green’s Gareth Hughes says some families can’t afford to run heaters.