The Electricity Authority (EA) softened the harder edges of its transmission pricing proposal yesterday, but the Government still faces political fallout from a plan that would increase power prices in Northland, Auckland and Westland, but deliver over NZ$77 million in benefits to Meridian Energy and NZ Aluminium Smelters (NZAS).
A report for MBIE has found the Electricity Authority's NZ$15 million 'What's My Number' website and marketing campaign to encourage consumers to switch power retailers appeared not to have reduced power prices or increased competition much.
The average residential electricity bill rose 2.9% in 2013, including a 2.2% increase in distribution and transmission charges and a 3.4% increase in energy and retail charges.
The Electricity Authority has announced its Retail Advisory Group is considering recommending to the Authority that all retailers itemise lines charges in their bills.
Prime Minister John Key has defended significant increases in power prices for consumers as necessary to fund Transpower's national grid upgrades, arguing power price increases had been less under National than under Labour.
This chart (prepared by PwC for the Electricity Networks Association in May 2013) attempts to unravel the proportions of electricity charges related to lines distribution charges, electricity generation costs, network transmission costs and GST.
The Electricity Authority (EA) has announced it will be reviewing retailers' claims they are putting up prices because of higher distribution charges.
A Green Party analysis of MBIE figures has found average power prices have risen 19.5% or NZ$360 per household per year since the National-led Government took office in November 2008.
A report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) on the Labour/Green proposal for a single state-owned electricity buyer has found it would increase private consumption spending by 0.1%, but leave real national disposable income unchanged. It would also encourage extra consumption and increase carbon emissions by as much as 0.5%.
Mighty River Power Chief Executive Doug Heffernan is hoping he doesn't get to see more detail before the election from the Opposition Green and Labour parties on their NZ Power proposal for a single state-run buyer of power.