Power price hike coming soon

Power prices in Christchurch are set to rise from April 1.

Electricity distributor Orion announced today it would be increasing its prices following a recent Commerce Commission decision on the amount the company is allowed to charge.

The commission has allowed an 8.4 per cent increase to apply from April 1, adding $4.80 to the monthly bill for an average household.

Orion owns and operates the electricity distribution network for about 190,000 homes in Christchurch and the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

Orion's increase comes on top of a 9 per cent increase from national grid owner Transpower, which is also set to apply from April 1.

It is estimated the average household electricity bill will increase by about 4 per cent if electricity retailers pass on the amount of both increases to customers.

Orion and Transpower's charges represent about 40 per cent of a household's total monthly power bill, with electricity retailer charges making up most of the rest.

Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said if electricity retailers passed on the increases, the average household electricity bill would increase about 4 per cent overall in Orion's network area. 

Christchurch's network charges would still be below the New Zealand average after the price rise though, he said.

"Orion is very mindful of the impact any price increase has, especially for those on lower incomes. However, it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to continue the network rebuild work we have already begun and to ensure our network is resilient enough to protect our community," Jamieson said.

The Press