• Media release
  • 24 Oct 2018
  • 3 min read

Genesis recommendations for electricity pricing review submission

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Genesis Energy's submission to the Electricity Pricing Review Panel advocates a collaborative, targeted approach to addressing 'energy hardship' while preserving the dynamic energy market that affords consumers the benefit of more competitive prices, choice, and innovation through sustainable and effective competition.

Chief Executive, Marc England says the Electricity Price Review presents an important opportunity for the industry to address sector-related issues that have been identified. In particular, he points to issues relating to 'energy hardship' and to improving transparency and consumer understanding of how energy works in New Zealand. "We believe all kiwis should be able to live in warm, healthy homes and have access to energy. It's clear that New Zealand's per unit electricity prices are competitive internationally but what is driving energy bills higher, particularly for truly vulnerable customers, is New Zealand's very high electricity consumption – the sixth highest in the OECD on a per capita basis. Genesis is committed to working across industries, government and regulators to deliver effective solutions to address 'energy hardship'."

Genesis advocates a number of measures to address 'energy hardship' including:

  • establishing criteria to clearly identify those customers in 'energy hardship'
  • ensuring delivery of targeted support to these customers and
  • addressing the root cause of unaffordable energy bills for some people, recognising that energy bills are a product of both usage and price.

The Report notes the difficulties in identifying vulnerable customers.

"Perhaps the most important development that can come from this review process is agreement on criteria to identify those who are truly vulnerable and experiencing energy hardship. This will enable us to develop and deliver targeted solutions for those in need," says England. 

The Genesis submission identifies solutions that it considers can provide more immediate assistance for customers identified as experiencing ‘energy hardship’, in addition to solutions that can be implemented over a longer term to address root causes such as improving the quality of New Zealand housing stock. Key recommendations include:

  • establishing an electricity customer assistance trust
  • more targeted application of the winter energy payment to those identified as high priority vulnerable and redirecting remaining funds to pay for improvements to housing
  • and considering the need for a retailer of last resort for truly vulnerable customers.

The Report confirms that the electricity market is competitive, there are no material barriers to entry, the system performs reliably and is delivering increasingly renewable energy supplies to a carbon constrained economy.

Genesis further identified ways that the industry can work to further build consumers’ trust and confidence in the sector. This includes a commitment to understandable and meaningful transparency across the wholesale, transmission, distribution and retail markets. Genesis’ recommendations include:

  • improving hedge disclosure requirements and creating a centralised repository for the extensive wholesale and retail data that is already disclosed to the market
  • removing the two-tier regulation of electricity distribution businesses so that all are subject to price-quality scrutiny
  • and improving the provision of information in EDB asset management plans to provide for meaningful comparison of performance.

The Genesis submission can be found here.

Genesis provides a wide range of services to support those who are medically dependent, or who simply need help controlling and managing their power bills. Please see our Vulnerable Care Package here.

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