Your say: Power prices on way up

Last updated 12:20 22/02/2008

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Stuff readers share their thoughts on warnings of a possible power crisis this winter and the rising cost of electricity.

Yes, it sucks what we pay for power. There is only myself and my Husband at home and we are paying $200 plus a month in power. We can't justify this at all. We were looking at moving and downsizing, but can't even afford to do that. There are going to be a lot of people pitching tents in the future I think. The ordinary people just can't afford to survive anymore, just the simple pleasures, or should I say, needs in life. Something's got to give soon, more criminal behaviour and the such like. Like we need that. Dreading the future...
Suzie Meyer

It is indeed a crisis. Power company executives say they have learned from the past. Well no they haven't else we would not be in this position AGAIN! I remember California USA was deceived when traders and power companies staged blackouts to increase profits on the back of "supposed" resource shortages. And if we face power increases at a time of natural resource shortages. Should not the converse also apply at a time of abundant resource. Or is that just a pipe dream.
Stephen Mackle

I am worried about prices for electricity getting higher. I live in a one bedroomed apartment. My last bill dated 12th Feb (ie Summer) was $100.90. The last time a heater was switched on was about 4 months ago. I use my shower - I don't have a bath. I switched off the small under-sink hot water cylinder about 24 months ago. I live alone. I live off the Age Pension. $100 for one month during summer! I can't afford to pay more. Helen Clark doesn't care any more. She's given up already.
Don Picken

It’s not a case of if there will be a winter power crisis but when. It happens every winter and not enough is done to ensure that there is a secure power supply for the whole country. NZers need to wake up and realise that we need to invest in new power plants now. A nice nuclear power plant right outside Auckland should do the trick.
Brian Letting

Every year for what seems like the past decade this nation has been threatened and hit with looming power prices and blackouts because we are approaching critical mass either due to overuse (too many people) or drought and lack of water. Yet, we are still to see the fruits of these price increases. The ecologists don't want us burning the stock pile of coal we have on the west coast, the greens don't want wind farms because they're a blot on the landscape, the locals don't want more hydrolakes because it could ruin their fishing spots. Solar power is still out of the question for many households because they're being crippled by power prices. How many people will die this winter because they were too scared to turn on their electric heaters? Perhaps it's not about power, but by allowing the elderly to die will take a load off the DHBs. Perhaps that is the real incentive. Less elderly weighing down the already strained social health system and less pensions to be paid out, while the shareholders continue to fill their pockets and the grid remains substandard to our needs. Sounds like a great scheme between the government and private shareholders.
Raewyn Vincent

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The current debate about an impending winter of power cuts misses the point entirely. The focus of both government and big business is on electricity generated by hydro-electric dams (subject to increasing fluctuation due to global warming, etc), coal-fired (highly polluting of air and land), natural gas or oil (limited supply and polluting) or geothermal (limited by subsidance potential). Why do we not use our abundant and free trade winds? A two-pronged approach would facilitate the return to cheap and abundant electricity in NZ. Firstly, sturdy legislation to streamline the planning process for businesses wanting to open wind-farms on remote and wind-swept areas. Secondly, encouragement (both legislative and financial) for individual households to install turbines on their roofs. These need be no more intrusive than many old-style chimneys and could result in households in windier regions becoming almost cost-neutral for electricity. Legislation (similar to Australia) requiring electricity companies to purchase electricity from householders at a similar rate to their resale price would encourage people to install turbines. It would also encourage NZ entrepeneurs to design and produce innovative technology to cope with our needs (also providing eventual export dollars). Finally, all new construction should be required by Building Code to thoroughly insulate walls, roofs and floors and install double glazing. Double glazing should be made mandatory in existing homes within 10 years. The difference could radically effect the cost of homeheating, especially in older homes. These simple ideas could substantially improve the quality of life for many people, especially in southern regions, and provide many productive jobs. Failure to address these obvious matters, when we are well-able to do so, makes our nation poorer and puts our "clean green" image in jeopardy.
Jonathan Cowey

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