Submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the Electricity Industry Bill

26 February 2010

Summary and recommendation

"A smart electricity grid is just as important as modern infrastructure like roads and broadband in 21st Century New Zealand"

Why is it important? Smarter use of electricity means:

  • Producing less CO2 by burning less coal and gas
  • Building fewer new power plants and power lines
  • Helping consumers have more control over their power bills
  • Enabling the introduction of new technology like smart appliances and electric cars
  • Improving security of supply - there were six serious supply scares over the last year.

Really smart meters – building blocks of a smart grid

  • NZ experience shows government leadership is needed for smart grid, like in other countries
  • Government needs to resolve industry stand-offs, establish key standards and bring certainty.

The bill is a positive step forward. The Electricity Authority is well placed to ensure a fully functional smart grid is developed.

I recommend that the Electricity Authority be required to amend the Electricity Industry Participation Code to provide for the development of a smart grid.

This could be done by adding "g. mechanisms to enable the development of a smart grid" to Clause 45(2). This clause identifies "specific matters" that must be included in the Electricity Industry Participation Code.

Resources

Submission on the Electricity Industry Bill Feb 2010

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Electricity Industry Bill handout

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