15 November, 2013
For Immediate Use
Regulatory authorities must govern fairly
The head of the Energy Trusts of New Zealand has taken a swipe at the Commerce Commission.
ETNZ chairperson Karen Sherry has expressed disappointment at what she describes as, "the Commerce Commission’s lack of action in ensuring electricity retailers pass on savings to consumers from decreased line charge costs."
Her view comes on the back of ETNZ's Spring conference in Whakatane, which was attended by 20 Energy Trusts and 80 trustees.
“What is happening now is just not right. Some residential electricity consumers - take Auckland for example - are not reaping the rewards from regulation-imposed price decrease," says Ms Sherry.
"The regulatory regime is supposed to protect consumers, so I sincerely hope the Commerce Commission or the Electricity Authority, as they seem confused about which of them has responsibility - takes a look at its performance, does the right thing and forces retailers to pass on reduced line costs to residential consumers.”
Ms Sherry and her ETNZ colleagues have also taken a swipe at recent assertions from Infratril - questioning the credibility of claims from the company that local lines companies are responsible for higher power bills.
“That’s just ludicrous. Lines companies operate very lean financial models and are often regulated down to the CPI increases. We can only charge so much for our lines charges and can’t control what mark-up retailers may or may not pass on to the customers.
“It’s time electricity retailers fronted up with an honest break down of their charges and once again New Zealand’s leading Government Regulatory Authorities who have influence in the Electricity Sector need to do their jobs here and stop dragging their feet.
"There was no need for a survey to start the 'What’s my number' campaign, so why have one before acting for transparency from the electricity retailers? There needs to be a level playing field for once and it’s not on for retailers to blame lines companies for increased prices when in all cases lines charges have been tracking the CPI and in several cases have gone down.”
For further information contact Karen Sherry, ETNZ Chairperson 029 846 5871
Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc (ETNZ), the national organisation for 22 energy trusts, the majority of whom own shares in companies that operate electricity networks