INDEPENDENT NEWS

Act Now To Safeguard Electricity Consumers

Published: Fri 27 Jul 2001 09:34 AM
Minister Must Act Now To Safeguard Electricity Consumers
The Minister of Energy should safeguard consumers and the environment by forcing the electricity industry to tighten up guidelines designed to help the industry meet Government objectives.
Ms Fitzsimons says the guidelines drawn up by the industry are far too soft and waffly, and bear little relation to the Government's original intentions, set out in the Government Policy Statement (GPS) issued last December.
Under the Electricity Industry Bill in the House today, the Government must give the industry a statement of government policy against which their performance will be audited.
However the industry establishment board, chaired by David Caygill has turned the Government Policy Statement into a set of "guidelines" it proposes to use in setting up the rules for the market.
"Mr Hodgson should call David Caygill, who chairs the industry board, into his office and tell him that the guiding principles bear no resemblance to the original Government Policy Statement which was intended to set the standard.
"The GPS includes measures such as: energy resources used efficiently, hydro spill minimised, risks to security of supply properly managed, costs subject to sustained downward pressure, greenhouse gas emissions are minimised, facilitate use of new technologies and renewables, and to be consistent with Government policies on climate change and energy efficiency.
"Somehow the industry has translated these clear objectives into wiffle-waffle market jargon which sets vague goals like 'foster economic welfare', 'promote efficient use of scarce resources' and 'foster standards of performance desired by the customer.
"There is no explicit mention of hydro spill, security of supply, greenhouse gases or renewables. The language is all about encouraging rather than ensuring, so the industry is making no commitments.
"If the industry doesn't have clear guidelines, there is no way they will ever meet the objectives set by Government. The Minister should act now before things in the electricity industry get even more out of hand."
Ends

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