Vector forced to drop gas prices

Aucklanders can expect their monthly gas bills to decrease by about $5 after the Commerce Commission forced Vector to drop distribution prices.

Vector bore the brunt of the Commission's final decision which means that as of July 1 it will have to drop gas distribution prices by 18 per cent and gas transmission prices by 29.5 per cent.

In real terms, the announcement means Auckland gas customers can expect their bills to decrease by an average of $5.30 a month from the distribution charge reduction.  

Maui Development was also ordered to reduce its transmission costs by 1.2 per cent.

Meanwhile GasNet and Powerco were told to increase their gas distribution prices by 2 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

For Powerco customers that translates to a 30-cent increase per month and no change for GasNet customers.

Commerce Commission deputy chairwoman Susan Begg said the decision aimed to balance profit margins so firms were given an incentive to invest in infrastructure while ensuring customers were charged a fair price.

"Although substantial price reductions are necessary for Vector, we do not expect this to limit its ability to maintain and invest in its network," Begg said.

Today's announcement comes just months after the regulator ordered 13 of the country's 16 electricity distribution monopolies to lower their prices.

Vector was among the two firms which were told to cut the price they charged to connect retail customers and businesses to the national grid.