General news

Message from our Chair, Anna Kominik

  • Corporate
  • Strategy

Tēnā koutou | Greetings

Delivery and momentum best describes the Electricity Authority over the past six months. We have welcomed a new Government and Minister, taken stock of our own operations and made changes in the way we work, to deliver faster, smarter and more effectively, for the benefit of consumers and the energy sector.

Since the last update, the Authority Board and Senior Management have been challenging our organisation to think across the horizon and take a more proactive and collaborative approach to regulation - with a clear focus on delivering to New Zealand and New Zealanders. Our vision is for consumers to have choices in accessing the energy they need now and in the future, so they and New Zealand prosper.

The Authority has always been committed to consumers – the long term benefit of consumers is baked into our main statutory objective and the protection of small consumers made explicit through our additional objective.

The change now is that the Authority is responding to the repeated call for certainty in an increasingly volatile context. Our recent levy consultation highlighted the pressure points on the Authority and the fact that we are funded for an electricity industry of the past, not for the electrification journey that we are already on.

Electrification is a huge opportunity for New Zealand and New Zealanders – a future in which investment and innovation will enable New Zealand to lead the way in a renewable future; in which consumers have more control and agency over their power; and in which communities are increasingly resilient in the face of significant weather events and natural disasters.

We know the consumer of the future will be different to the consumer of the past and we need to make sure consumers can experience and reap the benefits of an electrified future.

The Authority has important levers and is already working across agencies and other regulators to maintain a steadfast focus on doing everything we can to apply downward pressure on price while securing the investment necessary to realise a low emissions, electrified future; and to ensure security of supply during the transition.

We recognise that the potential for significant price rises is real, as the whole sector, including regulators, grapples with the need for greater investment across parts of the system. As an Authority – and as a sector – we have to consider what else we can do to minimise the short-term price pressure while continuing to set up a future where energy is secure, accessible and affordable.

Security of supply remains front of mind and we now have a roadmap that will move us beyond the short term winter-to-winter management, to a future system in which there will be more participants interacting with the system across supply and demand to help keep the lights on.

The Market Development Advisory Group has made a number of recommendations in their final report (delivered to the Authority in December 2023) that supports this longer term thinking. The Board would like to extend their thanks to all MDAG members and particularly, the Chair, Tony Baldwin for delivering this extensive and critical advice to inform our work programme. Advisory groups have and will continue to play an important role in our decision-making processes.

It is only through a broad range of actions and engagements that we will achieve our vision for consumers and have the best, most innovative and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their insight, expertise and in some cases, wish lists with myself, other Board members and management. We are listening.

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