Power costs a ‘serious’ priority for Government – Megan Woods

The AM Show 12/09/2018

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says people will have to wait and see what the Government will do to address the high cost of power.

A report released on Tuesday revealed the price of power has risen by 79 percent since the 1990s and Dr Woods agrees New Zealanders are paying too much.

This is a piece of work that we've prioritised as a Government and we're serious about it.

"What the report shows is that for 103,000 households, they're paying 10 percent or more of their income on their electricity bill," she said.

"For those people it's unaffordable."

Dr Woods said a two tier system is developing between those who could take advantage of deals like prompt payment discounts and people who were struggling or paying higher unit charges.

"When you've got this competitive market set up there's some people that do really well... but for 103,000 people that struggle the most to pay their power bill, they're really struggling with it," she said.

The report itself is part of a two-step process and Dr Woods said they're only just starting to work out what to do next.

"What I can guarantee is that we're going to be looking at a suite of options and will be making policy decisions after that," she said.

"This is a piece of work that we've prioritised as a Government and we're serious about it."

What that could include is better use of data, which will prove useful after stage two.

"The energy companies have voluntarily given up a lot of data, we're currently crunching those numbers," she said.

"We'll actually be able to see where that energy hardship is falling, so we'll be able to know far more after stage two and that's what I want."

Dr Woods is encouraging anyone who is interested to make submissions on the electricity price review.

Watch the full interview with Dr Megan Woods above.

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