20 Apr 2017

Greens announce power subsidy policy

1:26 pm on 20 April 2017

A new Green Party policy would have the government help pay low-income people's power bills.

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The Green Party said the policy would cost $112.1 million per year. Photo: 123rf

The party has just released its electricity policy, which also sets a goal for 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

If it is part of the next government, the Green Party has proposed winter energy supplements should be paid to all households that earn less than $50,000 a year.

The party said the subsidies would be designed to smooth out power bills by covering 75 percent of the average winter cost increase, and would vary by region.

It estimated more than half a million households would benefit.

The supplement would be paid for by revenue from taxation and energy company dividends, and would cost $112.1 million per year.

It said this was a small sum compared with $1.3bn the government got from partially privatising electricity companies.

Greens energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said the electricity industry was entering a time of massive change.

"[It is a time] where big old power stations and transmission lines are being supplemented by local networks of people and communities who produce, sell, store, and buy their own electricity.

"We have consulted the electricity industry to design a future-focused system and I'm confident the plan we announced today is ready to be acted on by the next government."

The party has backed away from last election's pledge to establish a central buying agency for all electricity but it has left the door open for further controls.

It said it would commission a review of the current electricity market to see how well it was working.