About the Authority
What does the Electricity Authority do?
The Electricity Authority is an independent Crown entity responsible for the efficient operation of the New Zealand electricity market.
The Authority succeeded the Electricity Commission on 1 November 2010, as one of a number of sector changes introduced under the Electricity Industry Act 2010. Background information on those changes and the establishment of the Authority can be found on the MED website.
The three-fold objective of the Authority's existence is to promote:
- reliable supply; and
- efficient operation of the electricity sector, for the long-term benefit of consumers.
In pursuing this objective, the key functions performed by the Authority are:
- registering industry participants
- developing and administering the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 (Code)
- enforcing compliance
- facilitating market performance through information, best-practice guidelines, and related services
- undertaking sector reviews
- acting as Market Administrator and contracting market operation service providers
- promoting consumer switching; and
- monitoring sector performance against the Authority's statutory objective.
In addition, the Electricity Industry Act 2010 specifies seven priority projects for completion by the Authority by 1 November 2011.
Although operating as an independent regulator, the Authority must give regard to Government Policy Statements presented in Parliament by the Minister of Energy and Resources.
The Authority may also undertake a review of a specific electricity industry issue at the request of the Minister.
Who oversees the Authority?
The Authority is governed by a chair and a minimum of four and maximum of six other members, with a spread of expertise in the electricity industry, consumer affairs and business. Members must also be independent and not represent particular industry interests. The members are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Minister of Energy and Resources.
Does the Authority own the electricity industry?
No. The industry is comprised of a number of state and private-sector companies. The Authority does not own or acquire electricity companies. The Authority is an independent regulator that makes decisions on the electricity industry in accordance with the Electricity Industry Act 2010.
Does the Authority set electricity prices?
No. The Authority promotes competition in the electricity industry, but it has no power to control wholesale or retail electricity prices. Complaints about overcharging by electricity companies are handled by the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commission.
Who pays for the Authority?
The Authority recovers the cost of performing its functions, powers and duties through a levy on industry participants. Different rates are levied on generators, purchasers, retailers, lines companies, and the grid owner, Transpower. Levy rates vary each year depending on the Authority's expected annual costs, the volume of electricity generated, purchased and conveyed, and the number of consumer connections.
The levy is not charged to consumers. However, retailers may choose to pass the cost of the levy on to consumers. Please contact your retailer for information about the levy amount included in your electrcity bill.
What is the difference between the Commerce Commission and the Electricity Authority?
The Authority is an independent Crown entity and is the regulator of the New Zealand electricity industry. It makes decisions on the electricity industry in accordance with the Electricity Industry Act 2010.
The Commerce Commission is an independent Crown entity, established under the Commerce Act. It enforces legislation that promotes competition in New Zealand markets, an prohibits misleading and deception conduct by traders. The Commerce Commission has various functions in relation to the Electricity Industry, including setting regulation on price and quality, and information disclosure requirements.
This page is related to: About the Authority.