8 May 2001
Increased Demand Contributes To Electricity Price Rise In April
New Zealanders increased their electricity consumption last month in response to cooler temperatures, contributing to a
substantial rise in average wholesale electricity prices. Average demand for April was up 1% from the same time last
Seasonally low rainfall during the month saw storage levels in the country’s main hydro lakes continue their downward
trend. At the end of April national storage was at 2,214 GW/h, 74% of the average for that time of year, with South
Island storage at 78% of average.
A key generation facility was out for much of April for routine maintenance, removing around 350 MW of capacity from the
wholesale market. This, together with transmission constraints around Benmore in the South Island, also contributed to
the increase in average wholesale prices during the month.
Monthly average prices at the two reference point locations climbed significantly in April. However, current average
wholesale prices have decreased from the previous high.
Benmore, the South Island reference point, showed a marked increase in the average monthly price to 6.46 c/kWh in April,
up from 5.02 c/kWh in March. The lower North Island reference point at Haywards recorded a similar price increase to
6.74 c/kWh, up from March’s figure of 5.18 c/kWh. The average price at Otahuhu, the reference point for the upper North
Island, also rose to 6.73 c/kWh from 5.29 c/kWh.