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.’’

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