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.
Mighty River Power Chief Executive Doug Heffernan has called for a debate about separating lines and power bills for retail customers, arguing it would help remove confusion over just who is moving power prices and why.
The Electricity Authority (EA) has signalled that as many as nine new electricity retailers could enter the market, which it said was a sign the market was competitive and barriers to entry were not too high.
The Electricity Authority (EA) was so unhappy last year with the refusal of some retailers to pass on regulated reductions in lines charges that it referred its concerns about "signalling" between apparent competitors to the Commerce Commission.
The Electricity Authority (EA) is reviewing the widespread practice of electricity retailers using information about their customers to offer targeted discounting activity known as 'saves' and 'win-backs'.