Energy Minister more focused on static electricity than controversial electricity changes

New Zealand’s smaller hydro and wind electricity generators are being put at risk from changes proposed by the Electricity Authority (EA), while Energy Minister Simon Bridges seems more focused on the static electricity in his office, the Green Party said today.

Along with controversial proposed changes to the Transmission Pricing Methodology that would see Auckland and Northland households pay more for power, the EA is also proposing significant changes to the rules around distributed generation. Distributed generation includes everything from solar panels on peoples roofs to modest-sized hydro and small wind farms, and is connected to the local electricity network rather than the national grid directly.

“The Electricity Authority is running wild with proposed major changes to the way smaller electricity generators will get treated, risking millions in investment, and the Minister is missing in action,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“Smaller electricity generators contribute 10 percent of our country’s power and almost all of that is clean and renewable, but the Electricity Authority is creating huge risks and uncertainty for them.

“Simon Bridges doesn’t seem to have said a single word in public about the Electricity Authority’s proposals that will raise costs for some consumers, and could put some smaller hydro and wind generators out of business.

“Local electricity generators are Kiwi-owned small businesses that are good for resilience in the electricity system and regional economic development.

“The rest of the world is embracing more small-scale clean electricity generation, but in New Zealand the Electricity Authority seems to be trying to stamp it out, which PWC estimates could cost distributed generators up to $1.5 billion.

“I challenge Simon Bridges to reveal his position on these controversial electricity changes proposed by his Electricity Authority, because all we've heard from him recently is his own static electricity challenges,” said Mr Hughes.

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