Power prices have climbed relentlessly over the past decade.
The usual justification is that the country needs more power and that the cost of generating this has increased (power stations are expensive to build and maintain). The population is growing and we’re using more electrical technology than ever before – although greater efficiency in lighting and heating products has helped offset some of this demand.
New Zealand’s total power use has doubled in the last 30 years. Various governments have taken differing views on the relative proportions that industrial, commercial and residential users should pay for the costs of generating and supplying electricity. So in the decade from 1982 to 1992 average residential power prices rose just 0.6 percent per year in real terms (above inflation) but increased 2.1 percent per year in the following decade. From 2003 to now, they’ve risen by almost 7 percent per year in real terms – that’s even excluding the latest GST rise.