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Group seeks review of electricity pricing

NZN 6/10/2016

An independent external review and better processes are needed before the Electricity Authority proceeds with the latest reform of how the national grid is paid for, says a lobby group.

The authority's board has met in Wellington to decide on its transmission pricing methodology proposals with submissions divided on how to ensure the costs of the wires that carry electricity from power stations to all parts of the country are allocated fairly.

The lobby group, which includes consumer trusts, businesses, farming, local government and electricity sector participants, wants independent international experts are needed to review the authority's work, especially cost-benefit calculations.

"If the authority is confident in the quality of its analysis, it has nothing to fear from an independent review. And if there are problems, then we'll all be spared a restructuring," said group spokesman Kim Campbell.

The group wants all parties brought together in a working group and cross-submissions to achieve a lasting consensus, he said.

It's also calling for the government to separately commission a wider review of the proposals to include social and economic impacts, given the authority's narrow mandate to look at the efficiency of the electricity system only.

The authority's own data shows consumers connected to electricity lines companies in the gun will be worse off to the tune of $115 million a year, while those connect to lines companies that benefit will only be $46 million ahead.

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