Reforms will bring price hike
Central Otago households will be out of pocket $350 a year if the Electricity Authority’s reforms are adopted, a local generator warns.
Pioneer Energy chair Stuart Heal said at a public meeting in Cromwell on Friday that authorities were trumpeting the claim that proposed reforms would save households $57 a year.
‘‘But what they’re not telling you is that the parts of the package that hit local power stations like us will take $350 a year off each household. So everyone here will be a lot worse off, not better. Closing these power schemes will also increase New Zealand’s carbon footprint.’’
There were 90 small power stations like Pioneer Energy around New Zealand, and they provided 10 per cent of the country’s electricity. All were community owned in one way or another by local trusts or small businesses, and over 95 per cent used renewable energy – hydro, wind and geothermal. Some even used methane from old rubbish tips to power their stations; methane that would otherwise add to greenhouse gases.
Independent Generators Association chair David Inch said moving forward, consumers would see huge changes in electricity - how it was priced, delivered, where it came from, and ‘‘little players’’ providing renewable energy should be protected.
‘‘There is a raft of emerging technologies out there...This is going to happen very, very quickly and the consumer will benefit from this believe me. Emerging technologies benefit the consumer.
‘‘We need to make sure we have rules, and those little players bringing those emerging technologies - and they are going to be good technologies because they are going to be renewable and good for the environment - they are the ones we need to protect and make sure we have rules in place to protect them.’’
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, who attended the meeting, said they supported local, sustainable generation and there needed to more than an ‘‘economic bottom line for the big players and not an awareness, recognition and valuing of how local sustainable generation can have a huge impact on an entire community’’.
‘‘If we are to reduce our contribution in this country to climate pollution we need sustainable local generation.’’