People, Politics, Power Stations, Alternating Currents or Counter-Revolution: An Interpretation of Evidence of New Zealand's Electricity Reforms
Type of content
Electricity reforms in New Zealand have been a topic of discussion and debate since their nominal introduction in 1987. Somewhat contrasting presentations have been made in two publications as to the influences and causes of electricity system development, both prior to and subsequently from the nominal reform date. The first focuses on the entire development of the New Zealand power industry since the 1880s. It conveys the major events that occurred and relates this to the influences of politics and powerful people. The second book interprets the developments from the viewpoint of competition theory, explaining what has occurred with reference to pricing, and supply and demand, the tenets of economic law. This paper is an interpretation of the graphical data presented in both books. There are sufficient long term patterns that show deregulation has had no effect in many ways. Generation capacity appears to be saturating while energy supplied increases linearly along with consumer numbers and their consumption. Real prices continue to decrease. Returns to government also are unchanged by deregulation. Deregulation has changed other factors. It has generated more profits to companies, added volatility to prices and rates of return, and removed cross-subsidisation between consumer sectors. Customers are less interested in changing retailers. Reliability statistics have improved, reflective of improvements in engineering operation and maintenance.