30 Jun 2013

Storm damage could push up Wellington power prices

2:39 pm on 30 June 2013

A member of a Wellington residents' group says electricity customers should not be the only ones to bear the cost of repairs resulting from recent severe weather.

Lines company Wellington Electricity says it has spent up to $5 million repairing damage from the storm on 20 June which, at its peak, knocked out power to 30,000 homes and businesses.

Chief executive Greg Skelton says the company spent eight months worth of its maintenance budget in a single week.

Mr Skelton says the cost of the repairs may push up its electricity rates, though in order to increase prices the company would first need permission from the Commerce Commission.

Kent Duston of the Mount Victoria Residents' Association says investors in the overseas-owned lines company should also pay for repairs.

He says news of a possible increase is unfortunate timing, given the many days some customers spent without power.

The Commerce Commission set price limits to distribution companies, including Wellington Electricity, in April. It says the lines company would have to make an application to raise its prices.

On Saturday, Wellington Electricity announced it had restored power to all its customers but Mr Skelton says more maintenance work is needed to prevent further outages.