Power bills could rise under super-city changes
Counties Power customers living in the Auckland Council area could receive a bigger bill than their Waikato neighbours.
The organisation's rates bill for its electricity network in the super-city area will jump from $119,600 to about $358,000 over the next four years.
Chief executive Neil Simmonds says he doesn't understand why the council charges any rates on electricity networks.
"Power and telecommunications lines do not use water, rubbish services or libraries," he says.
"However, they do support the development of the district, giving rise to economic activity and so increasing council's rating base."
Much of its customer base falls into the new Auckland Council area but some were moved to the Waikato after the super-city merger in 2010. That change means Counties Power is considering different charges for its customers in the two regions to reflect higher rates rises in Auckland, Mr Simmonds says.
"This makes a mockery of our own efforts to hold down prices.
"Counties Power passed on a Transpower price increase in April of this year but the company has held its own charges unchanged since April 2011 and it had hoped to avoid any increases at least until the end of this year."
Council chief financial officer Andrew McKenzie says there's several reasons why Counties Power's rates bill has jumped so sharply.
The differential the council charges businesses over residential properties has jumped from 1.2 in the former Franklin District to 2.03 under the Auckland Council.
The differential sees business rated at a rate 2.03 times more than residential properties. A change in rating systems from land value to capital value also played a part in the increase, Mr McKenzie says.
That means assets on the land are also rated, rather than just the land itself.
But Mr Simmonds disputes this part of Mr McKenzie's explanation and says the company was rated under capital value.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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