Call for Govt to pay for power upgrade

PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 13:46 25/11/2012
Lianne Dalziel
Fairfax NZ
CHALLENGER: Lianne Dalziel is set to enter the race for the Christchurch mayoralty.

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The Government needs to help pay for a power upgrade in Canterbury, says community leaders. 

Orion New Zealand is planning a $155 million upgrade of underground cables, overhead lines and substations to make the system as reliable as it was before the earthquakes.

If it goes ahead, householders on the Orion network will see monthly power bills rise by about 5 per cent.

Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network spokesman Mike Coleman said Orion's plans would ultimately be beneficial to the region. 

However, it was not fair for consumers to pay for it as many were already footing additional bills because of the earthquakes.

''It's time for the Government to actually step in and help the recovery and start paying some bills.''

Labour's earthquake recovery spokesperson Lianne Dalziel agreed it was another blow to Cantabrians.

''There must be some respite for the people of Canterbury. They shouldn't have to cover the entire cost of the network's damage.'' 

She said Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee needed to sit down with Orion to get a better deal for Cantabrians.

Dalziel said Orion had done the best they could given the situation so the government needed to step in to cover costs.
She urged people to make submissions to Orion and lobby Brownlee too.

Orion hopes to get approval by the end of next year from the Commerce Commission to lift prices to pay for the upgrade.

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- The Press

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