Kiwis powerless in face of rising electricity bills

New Zealand businesses and families are being taken for a ride by power companies with some putting their prices up by five per cent on average, Labour Leader David Shearer says.

“Contact Energy raked in $88 million in profits in the second half of last year. But they are laying off 100 staff and raising families’ bills by $100 a year on average. That’s outrageous.

“Kiwis are being taken for a ride. It’s hard enough for New Zealand families and businesses to get by in National’s stagnating economy without being hit by higher bills from electricity companies that have them over a barrel.

“It’s not just Kiwi families being bit in the back pocket, price rises our hammering our commercial and manufacturing industry. That hurts all of us.

“The increase in transmission charges is no excuse for price rises. There’s over capacity in the market and flat demand. Prices should be going down, not up. Raising prices to cover excessive salaries and unrealistic profit expectations shows the market is not competitive.

“Contact Energy’s overseas owners want a better return and don’t care about the interests of New Zealanders. That’s why prices are going up. If National gets to sell off our three state-owned electricity companies then struggling families can expect to see greater price rises.

“Yesterday Jenny Shipley boasted about Genesis’s profits to MPs at select committee. But she didn’t tell mention that her company was putting prices up the next day. Those profits are coming out of the pockets of the same Mums and Dads that National expect to buy shares when the company is sold off.

“New Zealanders are powerless in the face of this clear profit gouging,” said David Shearer.