A new Consumer NZ survey showing almost 40 percent of households have had to cut back on heating their homes because of the cost of power shows that power prices are too high under National, the Green Party said.
The Electricity Authority has suggested changes to the rules about how electricity lines charges are set, which are likely to result in even higher power bills for many households.
“When two out of every five households are forced to go cold this winter, it’s clear the market isn’t working. Unfortunately, the Government’s response seems to be to make people in many parts of the country pay even more for power,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
“No family should be forced to choose between paying the power bill or putting food on the table this winter.
“The Electricity Authority has proposed giving big industrial electricity users like the Tiwai Point smelter special discounts, while making families in places like Auckland, Northland, and the West Coast pay potentially hundreds of dollars more for power every year.
“Big businesses will be laughing all the way to the bank, while normal people shiver in their own homes.
“We’ve got things back-to-front when families have to pay extra for their power – or be forced to go without heating – to subsidise big businesses.
“The Government’s priorities are all wrong when it subsidises the Tiwai Point smelter while cutting funding for home insulation this year to the lowest level since it came to power.
“Consumer NZ also found that renters are more likely to have trouble heating their homes, and unfortunately the Government’s weak new insulation rules won’t make much difference to that because they don’t do nearly enough to ensure rental homes are warm and dry.
“We need to fix the broken electricity market by using more time-of-use pricing and encouraging people to invest in solar and battery technologies. That would reduce peak demand and make power cheaper for everyone,” said Mr Hughes.