Authorities challenged over power
I want to thank our community for their support to challenge the latest round of electricity reforms that could see our community lose more than $300 per household. More than 100 people turned up for the meeting in Cromwell where the wider impacts and unintended consequences of the proposal were discussed. Several individuals and organisations have followed up by putting thoughts to keyboard, calling our political leaders to action. This nationwide initiative is supported by many mayors and community leaders.
The Electricity Authority representative (EA), who attended the meeting, wrote a follow-up letter to our previous mayor challenging some of the statements made at the meeting.
EA does not believe that 40 per cent of local generation across the country will shut down as a result of the proposed changes’’. The EA does state they expect local generation to remain, but why then does their cost benefit analysis clearly assume that 40 per cent of local generation will close? Our evidence shows very clearly that if the changes as proposed are implemented, it will cost Pioneer more to transport our electricity away from our generation sites than what we can get in the market. Who in their right mind will be able to continue to run a business at a loss?
The EA did not consider all impacts their proposal will have on local generators and is ignoring the fact that communities like ours who invested in these assets will have value lost to benefit others like Meridian, Contact and Tiwai.
Incentive payments to local generation recognising their contribution to reduce transmission investment will not be completely removed.’’ The EA states in their proposal that local generation in the South Island is considered least likely to provide transmission benefits – and will subsequently lose their incentive payments. Most of Pioneer’s generation in the South Island was there long before the transmission grid, so why then did Transpower invest more than what was needed here and why should our community investment suffer as a consequence?
The proposed changes impacting local generation will not raise prices for consumers.’’ This might well be true if all local generation remains after the changes, but as discussed above, plant will close down and supply will be reduced.
‘‘The EA believe the proposals have not been rushed and that they have been consulting on the issue since 2012.’’ This is misrepresenting the facts – the first consultation paper on local generation was only published in July 2015 and the last round of consultation issued in mid 2016 included new and significant changes never consulted on before.
As a regional community we need to push hard for what is important to us.
Pioneer Energy Ltd chief executive Fraser Jonker.