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Meridian takes windfarm dispute to court

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016 Sophie Boot

Meridian Energy's wind farm in Raglan. © Bloomberg. Meridian Energy's wind farm in Raglan. Meridian Energy's dispute with the Wellington City Council over the rates it pays for its windfarms has gone to the High Court, with the electricity generator-retailer seeking a refund of about $1.2 million in what it claims are excess payments.

Meridian sought a judicial review of the rates imposed for its Wellington wind farms in the absence of any other process for appeal, the power generator's lawyer Adrian Olney told the court on Monday in the first day of the hearing.

Meridian had previously challenged the validity of the whole rating scheme, but was now only seeking a ruling on how the scheme was applied, he said.

The city council calculates rates depending on whether land is considered 'base differential', which includes residential, vacant and rural land, or 'commercial differential', which includes property used for commercial or industrial reasons and utility networks.

Meridian is currently charged commercial rates.

Justice David Collins reserved his decision. The judge said the High Court is quite short-staffed at the moment, so he wasn't sure when his ruling would be ready, but he would deliver it as soon as he could.

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