NZ's high power prices a national disgrace

23 February, 2017 - Auckland. New Zealand’s high residential power prices are a national disgrace, says the CEO of solarcity, the country’s leading solar energy services company.

A review of New Zealand’s energy policies released by the International Energy Agency confirms that household electricity prices have risen much faster than in other IEA countries and by 2014 were well above the IEA average while industrial prices were consistently below the average.

“This report highlights just how unfairly Kiwi consumers are being treated by the big power companies compared to the rest of the world,” says solarcity CEO Andrew Booth.

According to MBIE figures, the price of electricity in New Zealand in 1974 was 1 cent per unit. Today the average price of power is 29 cents. Residents of Balcutha, in the South Island, pay the highest price at 40 cents.

“We used to be one of the more affordable countries for electricity. Now we’re being forced to pay excessive prices to power our homes and sectors of the electricity industry are actively blocking new technologies, like solar, that give Kiwis the option to buy more affordable power. It’s a national disgrace.”

Last year lines company Unison Energy introduced an extra tariff for electricity customers in Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua and Taupo areas that installed rooftop solar after April 1, 2016. (4)

“That’s effectively a solar tax and we know first hand it’s slowing the uptake of solar in that region. Unison is discriminating against its smartest, most energy aware customers and is charging up to an extra $239 per year without providing any extra services.”

Last month the Electricity Rulings Panel announced it would review solarcity’s complaint about Unison’s solar tax, after it was earlier rejected by the Electricity Authority.(5)

The IEA report says solar will play a role in helping New Zealand reach, and even exceed, its target of 90% renewable electricity generation by 2025.