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DEUN Manifesto

New Zealanders must have affordable domestic energy services, to maintain health and to participate in society.

Soaring energy costs are making domestic energy unaffordable.

DEUN advocates for affordable and sustainable energy services for householders.

ISSUE: Households are subsidising others

Domestic electricity users are subsidising construction of new power stations to meet mainly commercial and industrial demand growth.

  • Rises in domestic electricity prices since 2000 have averaged 5% p.a. faster than inflation compared to price rises to commerce 1.5% and industry 4%
  • Electricity subsidies are costly and promote wasteful consumption
  • Government says prices must rise because demand is growing requiring costly new power stations. But demand growth from commerce and industry has been three times greater than from the domestic sector
  • Per household demand has not grown since the1970s'.

DEUN recommends

  • Independent review to determine a fair and efficient pricing system for domestic consumers
  • Pricing options to be considered include inverse step tariff (progressive pricing), real-time pricing (advanced metering) that offers greater consumer control over their power bills
  • Increased investment in energy efficiency programmes to cut down the need for more power stations.

ISSUE: Energy Poverty

24% of NZers are living in fuel poverty i.e. needing to spend more than 10% of their income to maintain temperatures recommended by W.H.O. for health and wellbeing.

DEUN recommends

  • Government recognises affordable domestic energy as a public good and fully funds it
  • All relevant legislation includes fuel poverty impact assessment in its development
  • The elimination of fuel poverty is a primary goal of all energy policy
  • DEUN does not support subsidised electricity for particular consumer groups because this promotes electricity and can cause wasteful use. The correct solution is an affordable supply for basic needs with step rises thereafter.

ISSUE: Inadequate Funding

Household energy programmes are inadequately funded to meet needs - the UK spends 8 times as much per capita as New Zealand.

DEUN recommends

  • Government household energy programmes are funded at UK levels
  • Community led and government funded advice and support on energy efficiency.

ISSUE: Health outcomes

Cold homes are killing people, particularly the very young and the very old.

DEUN recommends

  • Achievable Warm Home Standard targets to W.H.O levels of 18 degrees minimum and 20 degrees for infants, elderly, and health impaired
  • Retrofit programmes include a choice of clean and affordable heating systems where needed to achieve adequate temperatures.

ISSUE: Climate Change

  • Policies are raising energy prices.
  • The most cost-effective and sustainable response is investment in home energy efficiency
  • 90% of Government Kyoto obligation to purchase carbon credits will be paid by householders and small enterprises whose emission production accounts for only 33% of the national greenhouse gas emission total
  • Domestic electricity users will pay the full emissions price on all of their electricity while major users will be 90% sheltered until 2019
  • Emissions pricing creates windfall profits, much of which go to Government from its state owned enterprises.

DEUN recommends

  • Recycle windfall profits from domestic electricity prices into domestic emissions reduction measures
  • Cut down on emissions shelters to encourage export industries that are emissions efficient.

ISSUE: A Voice for Domestic Consumers

Domestic consumers have almost no voice in energy policy making and pricing, yet they provide 44% of the revenues of the electricity sector while only using 33% of the energy.

DEUN recommends

  • Electricity Commission Board, Advisory Groups and staff include strong domestic electricity consumer presence
  • Domestic energy service users’ views must be reflected in all policy analyses, decisions and implementation of policies by Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Energy; Electricity Commission; Commerce Commission, and EECA.

ISSUE: Cost of Essential Services

The cost of many essential services are rising faster than the consumers’ price index – for example food price rises are linked to energy price rises.

DEUN recommends

  • Benefits and low incomes to be indexed to a basket of goods and services that are essential to maintaining health and participation in society.

See the truth about electricity pricing.

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