Associate Professor Earl Bardsley, Waikato University:
taking Tekapo A and B power stations from Meridian and giving them to Genesis means Meridian must now rely on a rival company, through some kind of protocol, to provide a significant amount of the water inflow to Lake Pukaki, which supplies Meridian’s line of Waitaki River power stations.
The hope is that this market device will give better security against dry years. In reality, it may lead instead to increased electricity wastage through more conservative operation of the main hydro lakes
But any large summer floods will then flow into already-high lakes and create spill losses at all the downstream power stations. Even without the impact of the reforms there was considerable water spill earlier this year in the South Island, representing both lost power and lost water resource that might have gone to irrigation.
Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent:
“Tekapo can control the water available to generate electricity through the entire Waitaki system, made up of eight separate hydro lakes
“It is illogical to reduce the co-ordination between the Waitaki catchments and completely reckless to provide commercial incentives to a single supplier who has the power to restrict water to the rest of the catchments.
“This puts the security of supply at risk and will see a change in river operation that will increase wholesale prices and prices to consumers, particularly in the South Island. It certainly gives Genesis opportunities to gain.”
It was also “utterly illogical” to make retailers pay customers during conservation campaigns or power cuts. Retailers had no control over security of supply and the onus needed to be on generators to pay compensation.
It sniffs like major reform for reform’s sake. I don’t think they’ve got a clear idea of the benefits versus the risks.
Gerry Brownlee when asked if he would resign if power prices continue to rise: “No”