Unison welcomes call for clearer price signals for new energy technologies

June 22, 2016 10:49 AM

Unison welcomes a new report from Concept Consulting, calling for improvements in price signals for new energy technologies.

Nathan Strong, Unison’s General Manager of Business Assurance says the report highlights what Unison has been saying for some time.

“Consumers need clearer price signals on the real costs and benefits of new energy technologies such as solar PV panels, batteries and electric vehicles to ensure efficient uptake of these new technologies, and fairness in meeting associated costs.

“New Zealand already produces 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like hydro dams, wind farms and geothermal, so the bar is set much higher for solar and other emerging technologies to be as cost effective and to have as meaningful an impact on reducing our carbon emissions. In addition, according to the Electricity Authority, 95% of consented new grid generation is renewable. This makes us very different to many countries where energy generation isn’t anywhere near as carbon friendly as ours and subsidies can be justified for technologies like solar,” says Mr Strong.

“The report from Concept Consulting highlights that Kiwi consumers need better information on the true costs and benefits of different technologies to make informed energy choices. At Unison, we are being up-front about these costs with our customers through our pricing approach for customers with distributed generation, like solar, and the information we provide. We did this to ensure fairness for all customers.” 

Mr Strong says the energy sector has a role in making sure electricity is reasonably priced, generated in a way that is both environmentally and financially sustainable, and always available at the flick of a switch when people want it.

“Getting the balance right affects everyone from the government, the power generator, power retailers, lines companies, right through to end users – consumers.

“The sector is very engaged right now in discussions about how we can evolve from legacy pricing approaches to make sure consumers can make the most of emerging technologies – for example, access to cheap night rates for charging electric vehicles. We believe there needs to be a broad discussion about how to make meaningful improvements in the way consumers are charged for energy use.”

To see Unison’s information resource for people considering solar, visit www.unison.co.nz/solar. Unison was one of eight organisations who contributed funding for the Concept Consulting Report. However, the views expressed in the report are those of the authors.

For the Concept Consulting Report, visit http://www.concept.co.nz/publications.html