Growing wholesale electricity costs are putting huge pressure on industrial and commercial consumers, and will likely hit households soon, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says.
“I’ve spoken to a number of businesses who have experienced millions of dollars in increased power costs over the past year. This is heaping pressure onto their businesses and affecting their commercial sustainability.
“At the end of the day it will be everyday New Zealanders who shoulder the burden as energy costs are passed on to consumers when companies renew their electricity contracts.
“Rio Tinto has announced it will review the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter as electricity costs mean the business may no longer be commercially viable.
“Tiwai Point produces some of the most pure aluminium in the world with most of its electricity coming from a zero carbon source. If it stopped producing then world demand would be met by smelters with higher carbon emissions.
“The Government’s poor electricity policies have been the catalyst for these wholesale price increases, with the short-sighted oil and gas ban forcing prices up due to the tightness of our domestic supply of natural gas.
“The ban has also meant New Zealand has more than doubled the use of coal for generating electricity, which comes at a substantial cost as the coal has to be imported from Indonesia to meet demand.
“Add to this the 100 per cent renewable target that the Interim Climate Change Committee estimates will increase household electricity prices by $300 a year, and it’s clear this Government’s policies are driving up prices.
“The cost of living has steadily increased under this Government due to increased rent, fuel taxes and increasing electricity prices. New Zealanders can’t afford this Government.”