Friday, April 19, 2013
Electricity Joint Solution
Despite assurances from this Government that they have taken control of electricity price rises, my experience is different. Even after installing a solar hot water system to our house I haven't seen a dramatic change in our power bill because the cost of power continues to rise.
The Minister for Energy, Simon Bridges, claims that in a competitive market customers can shop around to get a better deal but he obviously hasn't suffered the hassles involved in changing from one provider to another. He also can't expect elderly people to continually negotiate the internet to review and compare power prices.
Consumers have had to pay 19% more for electricty while under this John Key led Government, around $300 extra for each household. Power bills in New Zealand have also increased by 70% over the last 20 years, well above the rate of inflation. The competitve model hasn't worked and although we have abundant sources of cheap energy, and a small population, our electricity costs have increased far faster than most OECD countries.
The Green and Labour Parties have independently arrived at the same solution. Both agree that a single purchaser of power will give certainty to consumers and moderate the profit driven focus of our power companies. This same approach is used successfully by Pharmac to keep drug costs down and is used to manage power prices in many countries including the US and Canada.
Joyce's attempt to liken the approach to something from North Korea and for Whale Oil's Cameron Slater to compare it to Stalinist control is hysterical stuff. It is interesting that neither tried to debate the ideas but chose to use scaremongering instead.
Affordable electricity is important for both households and businesses and after twenty years of suffering a failed experiment it's about time we applied some common sense.