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1600 dead, power prices 2/3 higher than Oz/US: Market working – Ryall

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, June 19th, 2012 - 81 comments
Categories: capitalism, Privatisation - Tags: , ,

Independent energy analyst Molly Melhuish is putting out some facts that Tony Ryall will not find comfortable.

While Ryall is spouting that 400,000 New Zealanders switching electricity provider proves that the market is working, Molly points out that we pay on average 28.1c per kWh from private companies and 24.79c per kWh from state owned companies – residential customers pay on average 25.05c.

So as we all look forward to our electricity companies being sold off and paying 28.1c (plus – they’re rising by $64 for the 3 months of winter this year and expected to keep going up for a couple more years), we can also look back and see how well the commercial model has gone.

In the last eight years the typical family power bill went up 78% according to Consumer NZ; over 30 years commercial customers have had their rate drop 37% in real terms, and industrial customers 3%. It’s normal Kiwis that are being squeezed.

And far more than they are across the ditch and across the Pacific.  US customers pay on average 15.16c per kWh, and Australia around 15c too.  If our market is so great, how come our companies are so expensive?

Worse than the dollar cost though is the human cost.  Otago University research says that 1600 more people (four times the road toll) die in winter than other seasons.  This will be down to inadequate heating producing poor health.

So is the market working Tony Ryall?

And why is the asset sales process being rushed through parliament, before Treasury can analyse Molly Melhuish’s research?

Is it because evidence doesn’t matter?

[edit: added link to Molly Melhuish’s submission]

81 comments on “1600 dead, power prices 2/3 higher than Oz/US: Market working – Ryall”

  1. maffoo 1

    National – the Babykillers

  2. grumpy 2

    Electricity prices are the biggest rort in the country – and Molly Melhuish is little better, was captured by the electricity establishment 20 years ago. There is only one reason for such ridiculous prices – because they can!

    • Cin77 2.1

      I think you’re on to something there.

      • grumpy 2.1.1

        Perhaps Molly could explain if she feels guilty now in assisting Laurie, Hodge and Roger Sutton at Southpower in influencing Bradford that resulted in the crap heap we have now?

        That would be nice……

  3. The Baron 3

    I don’t agree with this headline at all. You think you can ever heat up winter enough to prevent those 1,600 deaths, Ben? And even if you could, how would that fit with your equally spurious bellyaching about climate change leadership less than a week ago?

    [Amended for my lack of reading comprehension]

    I haven’t even got started yet on what proportion of those deaths can be attributed to “not having the heater on enough”. Weak politicians run weak arguments like this BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS bullshit. The Labour talent pool isn’t that deep, Ben, but even you seem to be sticking to the shallow end.

    Oh sorry, I forgot the purpose of this thread was to blame national for not outlawing deaths in winter. Silly me.

    [Bunji: banned for 2 weeks for author abuse (see: self-martyrdom)]

    • grumpy 3.1

      The electricity pricing bullshit was going right through Labours 3 terms and they just regarded the extra money along with tax. They were grateful that they could spend the additional income on “social” projects. Labour are even more to blame, being hypocrites.

      • The Baron 3.1.1

        Oh nicely put, Grumps! All of that money into the consolidated fund from those SOE dividends.

        QUICK BEN, TELL HELEN SHE HAS BLOOD ON HER HANDS TOO. Moron.

      • Bunji 3.1.2

        So the people who didn’t stop it are even more to blame than the people who did it?

        Not saying Labour are blame free, but let’s see that defence in court…

        (and it’s one thing to see that excess money going to the government and the nation’s interests – it’ll be another all that cash going to foreign owners…)

        • grumpy 3.1.2.1

          …but….but… Bunji, the people who didn’t stop it were the people who ideologically should have felt compelled to do so – until seduced by all that extra income….

          • bbfloyd 3.1.2.1.1

            Dwarf by name… dwarf by nature….you really are becoming an obnoxious cretin little g….get yourself back to the doctor before you injure yourself….

    • Galeandra 3.2

      Here’s a useful site for you to visit, Baron.
      http://issues.co.nz/fairelectricity/DEUN+Manifesto

      Ben Clark’s headline might be a bit of a shock to you, but it is evidence based and shouldn’t put you off reading abut, and considering the issues. The current crowd deserve flak for not only not addressing the issue of pricing’s impact on social costs , but potentially exacerbating it for what look like ideological reasons only.The previous Labour government have their own share of the blame, too.

      And as for the ad hominem attack– well, your words create a risible self-portrait.

    • Ben Clark 3.3

      To quote Dr Barker who did the winter death research:

      “The big question has been, if we didn’t have that exposure to extreme – and partly indoor – cold, would people die of something else?
      “And it’s quite likely they wouldn’t … this excess winter mortality is not inevitable.” […]
      He said some people were surprised such research was being carried out in New Zealand, which seemed “desperate” when compared with Northern Hemisphere countries.
      “There, the idea that people should be cold at home indoors is quite a foreign concept – they’re mystified by it.”

      Something can be done about it, and not having private electricity companies who’ll charge vulnerable elderly people twice as much for power as corporates would be a start.

      Also, re: climate change – most of our electricity generation is renewable, and more could be. Those Dams, Wind turbines, Solar… they’re not contributing to climate change, but they do keep heaters running and people from dying.

      Better insulation and a rental WOF could be equally important, but not pricing warmth out of people’s price range is also a start.

      • grumpy 3.3.1

        Think you’re wrong here Ben. True, people die because their homes are cold but it’s got bugger all to do with power prices.

        The cost of heating a home has more to do with insulation levels, older homes (even new ones) are virtually impossible to heat retroactively. They really could not be heated regardless of electricity prices. In Europe central heating of the who house is usual. In NZ we either have old people hunched over a fan heater in one room or the great heat pump con that leads to high power bills and bugger all heat.

        • Ben Clark 3.3.1.1

          It’s got to be a combination of the 2. There’s no point in that heat all going straight out of the roof, but you’ve got to be able to afford to be warm…

          • grumpy 3.3.1.1.1

            Bullshit, in NZ we have an average heatloss of 80W/m2 based on a 20C differential. In Germany they have 35W/m2 based on a 32C differential.

            If a bucket has a bloody great hole in it, it doesn’t matter how much water you pour in – it won’t get full. Likewise the price of that water is irrelevant – it won’t fill!

            The price of electricity becomes important when you can manage your consumption of it – in most cases in NZ you can’t, you just limit yourself to what you can afford – and it’s never enough.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Going to have to agree with grumpy there but that just means we need to make housing standards even better. And those sorts of standards are good because a house built to such standards doesn’t even need power from the grid to be heated.

              • Grumpy

                Exactly, zero energy houses are already reality in Europe. We just need some balls.

                • bbfloyd

                  What’s “getting some balls” got to do with building better houses? grow up little g…..

                  the first thing that needs doing is to stop electing buck passing, incompetent tories so that they aren’t given the chance to further erode our ability to build those houses ….At an affordable price…….

                  that was your hero birches answer to everything… deregulate… the MARKET was going to provide……..How did that do? .. pretty well considering that the huge profits made out of the deregulation is only costing everyone else upwards of $10 billion…….

                  Leave your testicles out of this….. it’s juvenile…….. and a bit creepy…..

    • Dr Terry 3.4

      The Baron (or more correctly “silly me”?) I think it unfortunate that emphasis is placed upon “deaths”. The real point is that people (mostly the lower placed 20%, at least), are suffering in this country, for a number of reasons, one of these being highly priced heating. Who, other than the Government, must be held to account? Even governments must consider human cost, in company with economic self-interest.

  4. The Baron 4

    Serious point, would someone please link to Molly’s submission? I assume publicly available, but can’t find on parliament website as yet.

    EDIT: Here it is. I am probably linking to it wrong though, so MODS feel free to fix.

    http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/46777021-716E-47FD-B660-D5452999B5E0/220787/50SCFE_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL11223_1_A233413_MollyMelhui.pdf

    A decent author might have done this in the first place, but that wouldn’t have fitted the hysteria. Jesus Christ, Ben, it ain’t this hard pal.

    • The Baron 4.1

      Uh oh Ben, there isn’t anything in here about US and AUS prices either. Got a little linky-loo for that little stunner, cos it doesn’t match anything that I have ever seen or read anywhere else?

      Not that hard… god it really is amateur hour with you, isn’t it.

      • Ben Clark 4.1.1

        Much as you’ve now been banned, I’ll point out that if you read the Herald links in the OP you’d see the numbers for Australian & US prices.

        Also, it’s not my job to link to anything that you might find useful. Abusing people for not doing your work for you when they’re not even paid doesn’t win friends.

        But since you link to Molly’s submission, isn’t it interesting that since Bradford’s electricity reforms in 1991 price / kWH has diverged for residential and non-residential customers so much that we’re now paying twice as much as business for our electricity?

      • Dr Terry 4.1.2

        Nor does blasphemy help your case.

        Nor does blasphemy help your case.

  5. vto 5

    Just like selling land to foreign landlords, not a single compelling reason has been put forward to explain why selling the electricity companies is good for NZ.

    This lot are extremists who refuse to listen to logic. They are hell bent on an ideology, just like religious nuts.

    • grumpy 5.1

      Years ago there was a move to raise prices to Long Range Marginal Cost, or, the cost of the first electricity from new generation. This was argued as needed to attract new generation. Looks like it’s happenning.

      Ask yourself, why should prices go up? What new generation have the power companies built? Line maintainence???

      The assets (dams) are all paid for, transmission lines there – prices just going up because they can……

      • The Baron 5.1.1

        Mmmm hold on a little there… there has been more than a few attempts to build additional capacity that have run into some pretty dire resource consent challenges. Such attempts aren’t free – project aqua didn’t go anywhere, but Meridian spent a bomb on it before giving up. Likewise the recent proposal for the Mokihinui Dam.

        You’re right about the price signalling for capacity though. Buffers for investment should naturally appear as supply fails to meet increasing demand. All other things being equal, that would push prices up above LRIC, providing an incentive to add capacity to capture the windfall. Once supply catches up with demand, an efficient market would see price reductions back down.

        Dunno enough about market efficiency in our electricity. Need to read more and can’t be assed.

        • grumpy 5.1.1.1

          Probably Meridian’s biggest cost for the Mokihinui project was building a new Marae Hall at Arahura (100’s of kms away) for “local” iwi to get their agreement.

          Where is the last new generation or major infrastructure, built – oh I dunno – let’s say the South Island??? That’s right – none, so why the continual price increases?

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.1.1.2

          Baron: “…should naturally…” oh yeah? According to what law? Or is it just written that way in the little blue book?

          To put it another way: that all sounds very convincing. Citation please.

          • grumpy 5.1.1.2.1

            Baron is talking about basic Supply and Demand – something that does not exist in the NZ electricity market.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Right – a theory that requires a bunch of caveats when it works at all.

              • grumpy

                …relies on a “free market”. In this case one does not exist.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Natural monopolies don’t have market space.

                  BTW, there’s a reason why the government built the electricity and telecommunications network – private business wouldn’t because it fails to get a financial return but it does get a social return.

        • vto 5.1.1.3

          Baron, Mokihinui was dropped by the power company, nobody else. Similarly, the giant windfarm down south – Hayes project (?).

          The reason they have been dropped is because the demand is not there (nought to do with RMA). As such, following market logic, the price should be falling. But it is not, it is rising. So, explanation please mr clever.

          The whole entire thing is a rip off of gigantic proportions, as grumpy amply points out..

          And who’s defending the whole shooting match? Nobody as far as I can tell, except for extremist politicans like Ryall and Key. And why the fuck would anyone believe them?

          • grumpy 5.1.1.3.1

            Correct vto, as a Righty, I abhor the blatant manipulation of a market and even more the assistance of successive government to facilitate that.

            • vto 5.1.1.3.1.1

              Well yes grumpy, and further consideration would result in the conclusion that such manipulation by governments – dishonest presentation of the facts to secure financial advantage – is fraud.

              Fraud.

              If you or I did that we would be arrested by the Police, charged with fraud, convicted of a criminal offense in the High Court and sent to jail. Why does this not happen to the governments?

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                Why? For one thing – Parliament is sovereign.

                I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently – the public good that comes from a sovereign parliament against the public bad perpetrated by individuals who promote harmful policies, never mind their motivation.

                I think it makes more sense to strengthen the select committee process – with specific regard to the weighting of evidence – than to criminalise bullshit.

                • vto

                  You forgot to outline your reasons…

                  Why should politicians not be held to at least the same, if not higher, standards as the public? What is stopping it? Why should fraud be ok for politicians?

                  Because currently NZ politicians have only to hold themselves to the lowest standards in the country. Lower than anyone else.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    My reasons: argument is necessary for democracy to work – to overcome confirmation bias in the same way peer review does for science. However, while science has the luxury of time to reach conclusions, politics does not.

                    Persuasive arguments are just that – they persuade people including politicians and you and I. Some of them (the arguments) are based on evidence (which abounds, when you look) and some are not.

                    The current system allows too many fact-free arguments to influence policy. This is exacerbated by the fact that some political decisions must be made immediately.

                    When politicians sit down together in select committee they assume a responsibility that goes beyond their vote for or against the eventual proposal – I think their responsibilities are best impressed upon them at that level.

                    Parliament is not a football to be passed between the ruling cliques.

                    • vto

                      I don’t know if it all flows out of that. You refer to the parliamentary process not the government itself which is what I was talking about, following grumpy’s point about government manipulation of the electricity sector to secure financial advantage to the government. This is separate from Parliament.

                      Sure I understand the reasons for Parliamentary processes such as privilege etc, with all its massive warts and smells and I wish politicians like Peters would stop referring to it as the highest court in the land – it is nothing of the sort. It merely has powers above the highest court in the land, that is all, and to make that comparison is merely self-serving.

                      But for the government, not Parliament, to present a situation as something it is not in order to secure a financial advantage is fraud. Why is the government held to the lowest standards of honesty, amongst much else, in the country?

        • Dr Terry 5.1.1.4

          Baron, that last line is, finally, most convincing!

  6. tracey 6

    baron your last line cld be straight from the pm’s lips.

  7. grumpy 7

    “…And far more than they are across the ditch and across the Pacific. US customers pay on average 15.16c per kWh, and Australia around 15c too. If our market is so great, how come our companies are so expensive?”

    Because they burn coal? and oil?? and in the US have Nuclear????

    Maybe we should too?

    Or, maybe they haven’t had years of rorting by “energy” companies that pay seriously cunning executives obscene amounts of money to continue the rip-off.

    How many “energy companies” do we have?? and in the population of a reasonably mid sized European city?

    Perhaps we should ask Molly how it all came about?

    • MrSmith 7.1

      One reason prices are so high Grumpy could be that the city consumers subsidize the Rural consumers, as I understand it Rural consumers only pay 10% more for there power than city consumers pay, that’s law I understand (which I’m all for living in the country), someone might be able to confirm that for me. Another reason we pay through the nose could be the power companies have to make a profit which is what around 400/500 million and nothings going to change there selling half of them off, not to mention we have a small population spread over a large area compared to other countries.
       
      I would be all for re-nationalizing electricity in New Zealand tomorrow, it is to important to leave to the market that puts profit before supply, even if ‘I assume’ we have to pay to regulate and watch over it, which is another waste of money.

      • grumpy 7.1.1

        Not true.

        • MrSmith 7.1.1.1

          What every thing I said or just

          Section 62 of the Electricity Act 1992 contains an obligation to maintain lines services to connections established as at April 1, 1993. This obligation expires on March 31, 2013. Lines built after April 1, 1993 are not covered by the obligation.
          Unless section 62 is amended, consumers connected to lines which are uneconomic – i.e.  remote consumers – face uncertainty about continuity of supply at affordable prices.

          From here

          [Bunji: removed massive white space]

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            Somebody fix that comment please. It’s got a lot of white space in it that’s irritating.

          • Grumpy 7.1.1.1.2

            Ok, partly true, the historic obligation on the old power boards to hook up remote sites was considered in the national interest but this no longer applies, and only to line charges, not energy.

            • MrSmith 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Ok Grumpy we made it to partly true, now please read the quote I posted and read the link. 
               
              Basically all lines built before 1992 have been subsidized to the Rural sector (line rental subsidizes) and these lines are still subsidized to this day, so basically the Rural sector have been getting a free ride on the backs of the average joe (so fucking National) and I can’t see the current government changing that can you?

              • Grumpy

                Nah, there is no subsidy on electricity prices, those lines were separately funded from rural development money. It was not just rich national supporters who got it.

                • MrSmith

                  I never said there was a subsidy on electricity prices I said there was a subsidy on the lines or the fee you get every month called ‘line rental fee’, and I don’t care how they were funded although “rural development money” sounds like another bloody subsidy to me. 
                   
                  and this:
                  “It was not just rich national supporters who got it.” 
                  Well most of the beneficiaries where Farmers and finding a Farmer that doesn’t vote National is like trying to find a virgin in a Catholic girls school.

    • Murray Olsen 7.2

      Most Australian power comes from coal. We pay approximately $A80 a month in Queensland. That’s one of grumpy’s arguments shot down. As for rorting, what the hell was ENRON all about? Please try sticking to some facts, it’s not that hard really.

      • Grumpy 7.2.1

        Enron invented carbon taxes too…….my poin t was that if Australian prices are low by using coal, then perhaps we should too?

        To be. Fair, hydro must always be cheaper than coal, shows how. Much our market is stuffed.

  8. just saying 8

    Well said Ben. I heard your brother speak very well on this issue too*. Good to hear an articulate oppostion position (particularly from a relative beginner).

    *I’m telling you because David doesn’t seem to come here.

  9. Adrian 9

    Are they rushing it because they think the skids are under Banks and he won’t be there in a month or so, hence losing their majority?
    Project Aqua was canned because the clay for the canal banks was going to have to come from North Canty at a huge cost overrun as they hadn’ done their homework on local availability.

    • Dr Terry 9.1

      They are probably rushing it because of dying to announce yet another nasty policy.

  10. Otago University research says that 1600 more people (four times the road toll) die in winter than other seasons. This will be down to inadequate heating producing poor health.

    I’ve seen some dodgy leaping to conclusions on this site before, but this one must be eligible for some kind of prize.

    • grumpy 10.1

      Actually Milt, I think it’s not far from the truth. The fault lies with terrible insulation levels, the great heatpump con and lastly, the price of electricity.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Heat pumps are great, far more efficient than any other heating system except possibly totally passive systems. I suspect the problem lies in poor installation and poor understanding of the system by the purchasers. It doesn’t help that our environment is especially corrosive to the radiators used in them but their aren’t any standards enforcing that the radiators be made corrosive resistant.

        • Grumpy 10.1.1.1

          All that and they plain just don’t work in colder parts of south island. Undersized run continually adding huge power bills. Also, add to maximum demand of grid and generators, leading to more demand for generation.
          The future, as it has been in the past and is now in passive houses is a radiant storage system.
          New Zealand is one of the few countries that regards reverse cycle air conditioners as a heating appliance.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1

            All that and they plain just don’t work in colder parts of south island.

            Well, most of them don’t but there are some that do.

            As I said, poor understanding of the system by the purchasers. Essentially, people going out and making the wrong decisions due to lack of knowledge.

            The future, as it has been in the past and is now in passive houses is a radiant storage system.

            That’s the best option but it’s going to be decades (even if we put the regulation in place now) before every house is like that which means we need to make a few changes now that work now. Retrofitting insulation and heat-pumps are the best option for now.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.2

      Grumpy’s right Milt – the phrase you quote is simplistic f’sure – but it bears scrutiny.

  11. captain hook 11

    these erks are not responsible to anyone, are self referential and welded to the ideas of milton friedman.
    In short they have lost touch with reality andare not to be trusted.
    they are like post modernists who believe that only there own truths count.
    Its about time the whole nest of them were cleaned out and the thing restarted again.

  12. BLiP 12

    .

    Its difficult to forget Max Bradford’s supercilious smirking at New Zealanders after his 1998/99 electricity market reforms were embedded in legislation. Three years later not an iota of smugness had left him when, in a 2001 confabulation Editorial Review he wrote:

    . . . As uncomfortable as that transition process was for some, the larger, and long-term, benefit of choice and lower prices has been achieved. I would be the first to admit the wide consumer perception in the New Zealand public is that the introduction of a competitive electricity market has been disruptive and, some might say, has not worked. That is a perception that will be gradually replaced by the facts. To return to the old central/local government monopoly days would be folly and a tragedy for consumers . . .

    What a total cockwomble, and now John Key’s National Ltd™ is about to deliver the coup de grâce to what should be a collectively-owned essential service available to all New Zealanders at a fair price. Instead, it is being gifted, risk free, to international casino sharemarket operators for further leveraging into even more imaginary money.

    But poor ole Max unfairly gets to carry the can, in some respects. Sitting here, watching the “debate”, listening to the Hollow Men squabble with their Straw Men, one bullshit National Ltd™ argument followed by another Labour Party recantation, its seems apparent to me now that New Zealand has been betrayed over and over again by those elected to represent the best interests of its people.

    The country’s political machine, I suggest, was fully captured by the corporates in 1983 when Roger Fucking Douglas was slipped his Treasury and Reserve Bank written 51-page “Economic Policy Package”. That document required the Labour Party to abandon its core beliefs, its MPs to abdicate their personal responsibility and hand over the future of New Zealand to market forces. Its not like there was no warning. Back in 1971, accountant-turned-politician Douglas was already talking about using cash profit as a measure of government efficiency. In 1972, he carved up the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation into three state-owned enterprises, and introduced an income-related contributory pension scheme. Turfed out in 1975, Labour had a long wait to get back into power but then along came a drunk Rob Muldoon who, on 14 June 1984, fell into the bankers’ trap. Calling for a snap election to be held in just four weeks time, Muldoon was gambling that Labour would not be prepared. Little did he know, the neo-liberals had already handed Douglas the manifesto which is still in play today.

    • BLiP 12.1

      .

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming Labour as much as I am blaming New Zealanders. We’ve allowed our politicians to reduce their role to managers just as we have swapped our collective responsibilities of citizenship for the comfort of being individual, molly-coddled, credit-card bearing consumers. Everything is “sweet as” until the job disappears, or a loved one falls ill, or we’re charged with a crime we didn’t commit, or its our six-year-old who’s labelled “FAILURE”, or we end up paralysed in an accident, or have to weigh-up paying the power bill or waiting another week to pick up the prescription from the chemist. It seems sometimes that unless such misfortunes visit us personally, its someone else’s problem. Passionless, “smiling zombies”, indeed.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        On song tonight BLiP.

        • BLiP 12.1.1.1

          .

          Very kind of you to say so. I guess there really is something to in vino veritas : )

      • prism 12.1.2

        Blip It’s not my fault, it’s those others. I sometimes wonder if we have had to fight for our freedom against an overseas attacker would we appreciate our rights better. Or is it as Gordon McLauchlan put it in Passionless People page 1 where he says we are ‘a group of people who have nurtured in isolation from the rest of the world a Victorian, lower-middle class. Calvinist, village mentality and brought it right through…’ and run away to ‘drab sameness and emotional numbness’.

        Also, ‘Right now, influence within our society is factionalised, compacted into pressure groups which exert their power almost exclusively for selfish needs without any sense of a total community’ and this results in the outliers being excluded.

        He says further on p.3 ‘I believe there is a deep well of reaction in this country and that the central personality within our homogeneous culture is an authoritarian personality.’

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2.1

          ‘I believe there is a deep well of reaction in this country and that the central personality within our homogeneous culture is an authoritarian personality.’

          He could be right about that too.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    In the last eight years the typical family power bill went up 78% according to Consumer NZ; over 30 years commercial customers have had their rate drop 37% in real terms, and industrial customers 3%. It’s normal Kiwis that are being squeezed.

    That seems to be normal business claptrap and, interestingly enough, against the supply/demand curve of the economists. For some strange reason the businesses just look at the large numbers they get from other businesses and give a discount when, rationally and in line with present economic theory, they should actually charge large users more. That way power use becomes more efficient whereas the present way cause use to become less efficient as it’s cheaper to use more.

    EDIT:
    As an example when I last worked at a telco they management got up and explained just important VIP (large) customers were and that we really needed to cater to them. They then put up a chart that showed where the money was coming from and where it was going to. The VIPs were costing money and all the profit was coming from the small customers – the ones that didn’t get same day fault fixing. I suspect the same will be true of the electricity market.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Reminds me…. anyone here know the actual contracted price of electricity to Tiwai Point?

      • Grumpy 13.1.1

        No, but it’s real cheap. But, there are a lot of conditions.

        I know of communities who buy electricity from the LV side of the big transformer out the front. They get a damn good deal too.

      • mike e 13.1.2

        less than the cost of production.

    • Grumpy 13.2

      The large customers getting great deals are normally those who can configure their usage to be attractive to energy companies. Avoiding maximum demand and especially coincident demand while can give good deals. I know of one large customer paying 5c a kW/hr for energy plus line and demand charges.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1

        You do understand that making it cheaper for large users is the actual problem don’t you?

        • Grumpy 13.2.1.1

          Cheaper? Or less expensive? Have you looked at the spot prices recently?

          If you published that then people would take notice, can’t understand why nobody does.

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    Earlier this week I posed some questions to Finance Minister Bill English about his support for the government’s plan to spend a billion dollars on a new prison. I was pretty disappointed in his answers, all of which flew in the face of his own ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 day ago
  • Govt already in ‘holiday mode’ on $2.3b owed to Kiwi workers
    The Government is dragging its feet while working New Zealanders are still missing up to $2.3 billion collectively owed to them through underpaid holiday pay entitlements, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “The cover was blown on this issue ...
    1 day ago
  • Why is New Zealand still the exception on deposit protection?
    I took the opportunity to question the Reserve Bank Governor, Graeme Wheeler, about New Zealand’s lack of deposit protection in front of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee in Parliament yesterday. Why does the Reserve Bank continue to oppose protecting ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 day ago
  • Statement on proposed United Nations role
    “There has been a high degree of media interest in New Zealand about a possible post with the United Nations. “My name has been proposed to the United Nations Secretary General to be his Special Representative in South Sudan. ...
    1 day ago
  • David Shearer proposed for UN peacekeeping role
    Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “David has kept me fully informed about this opportunity and we are ...
    1 day ago
  • Karori Kids and Campbell Kindergarten must be saved
    The Minister of Education needs to show some leadership and secure the future of two not-for-profit early childhood education centres that could be faced with closure as the land they sit on is up for sale, Grant Robertson Labour MP ...
    2 days ago
  • Ministry reveals shocking charter school results
    NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated with documents revealing many students leaving school without basic NCEA level two qualifications despite this being a main educational target for the Government, says Labour Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Documents obtained ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    2 days ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    2 days ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    2 days ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    2 days ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 days ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 days ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    4 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    6 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    1 week ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    1 week ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    1 week ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago