9 Aug 2009

Power bill discounts favoured by Energy Minister

5:20 pm on 9 August 2009

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is considering making electricity companies give a discount on power bills during energy conservation campaigns.

Mr Brownlee says customers have responded well in the past to the campaigns when in fact, it could have been the electricity companies taking the steps.

He says customers could be given a $10 weekly rebate that could increase as energy use falls in each household.

Mr Brownlee told the Q+A programme on TVNZ on Sunday he wants to shift the responsibility of electricity costs and supply back onto those responsible for the industry and not the consumer.

A lobby group, the Domestic Energy Users Network, is backing the proposal to make companies pay households for saving power in a dry winter.

A spokesperson for the network Molly Melhuish says it's a good idea that should have been done years ago.

She says if the year is dry and rain doesn't come retailers should be contracting in advance with thermal generators to overcome shortages.

A ministerial review into the electricity sector is complete and will be presented to Cabinet on Monday.

The review, which was commissioned in April, has examined electricity pricing and the future of the Electricity Commission.

Mr Brownlee avoided answering questions about whether the Electricity Commission will be scrapped.