Electricity Regulations Crippling Industry

10 August 2006 12:00:00

“Something is very wrong with the electricity infrastructure in New
Zealand,” Libertarianz Energy Spokesman Greg Balle declares, in
response to the news that electricity company Vector is in regulatory
sights. “We have the Commerce Commission deciding to intervene in the
supposedly free market to dictate pricing, costing and any other thing
it deems necessary to providing cheap power to the people.” Comparing
state intervention in electricity with centrally-planned Communist
Russia, Balle reminds us: “The last time this stunt was pulled, the
people ended up largely without power, shivering in the dark.”

Tick off the bureaucratic errors to date, Balle says. “A rusty
D-shackle failure in moderate winds at the Otahuhu substation took
Auckland businesses offline for half a day and cost them an estimated
$50 million. Added to this we have the farcical circular
finger-pointing between the Electricity Commission, the Commerce
Commission, Transpower and the Ministry of Energy surrounding the
ongoing debate of who’s responsible for actually making a decision on
the South Waikato transmission line, figuring out if it is even
needed, and genuinely evaluating alternatives. At present we have
three and sometimes four layers of state intervention, hand-wringing,
reports, inquiries and general bureaucratic bungling involved in the
electricity markets.”

Balle thinks electricity is far too important to be left in
incompetent government hands. “A business leaders survey found that a
key concern to businesses considering expansion are the issues
surrounding electricity generation, distribution and supply
infrastructure.” Perhaps the Libertarianz solution of energy
deregulation would help, Balle said. “If the state just got the hell
out of the energy and electricity markets completely then a fair and
free market would quickly be established, ensuring all consumers who
needed cheap power could get it.”

“Commerce Commission chairwoman Rebstock tries to decide from her
Wellington office a goldilocks electricity price – not too much, not
too little,” Balle laughs. “The market will get to work and outguess
her every time.”

ENDS

For more information contact:
Dr. Greg Balle
Libertarianz Energy Deregulation Spokesman
Phone: 021 250 5340
Email: [email protected]

Libertarianz: More
Freedom – Less Government