Electricity Service

Wairoa Star Column – Tuesday 4 April 2017 – Stuart Nash

There are many advantages in living in provincial and rural New Zealand. Not having to spend three hours in a car commuting to work from a house with a $1m mortgage is a pretty big one for me! But there are also some disadvantages.

Recently, a few people who are living on the outskirts of Wairoa and surrounding townships have been in touch because they are really struggling to operate their farms, businesses – and lives – due to inconsistent power supply and non-existent ultra-fast broadband. The broadband one is difficult to fix (but we are getting there in a number of smaller rural communities), however, the power problem should not be an issue!

I pretty sure it is the statutory responsibility for a lines company to provide power lines to every single customer in New Zealand. Once the lines are there, sending electricity down them is easy. Of course, there are weather events that take the lines down every now and again, but this is not what I am talking about when it comes to continuity of supply.

If anyone has had, or is having, trouble with continuity of electricity supply (outside of adverse weather events) then please let me know.

What I am interested in doing is finding out why there are some farms, communities and homes that are suffering from poor power supply in the 21st century. If it is because of negligent lines company policy, then let’s get this sorted.

The break-up of ECNZ in the 1990s was supposed to provide a greater level of competition, which would lead to better efficiency and lower prices. Overall, this hasn’t happened, and if the experiences of some in rural Wairoa and surrounds is right, the service and sector has gone backwards!

I love living in provincial New Zealand, and I do understand that occasionally there are compromises that need to be made, but overall the benefits significantly outweigh the costs. One thing we should not have to put up with, however, is a poor level of service and substandard key infrastructure. So let’s see what can be done about this.

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