Commission keen to hear views on Aurora network

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Central Otago residents are urged to have their say on Aurora Energy.
The Commerce Commission is ‘‘extremely eager’’ to engage with residents regarding Aurora Energy’s plan to raise its prices to fund major network investment.

That is Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan’s take on a series of public drop-in sessions for consultation with the commission on Aurora Energy’s investment plan.

Mr Cadogan has been vocal in his criticism of Aurora, particularly after an unscheduled power outage hit Clyde businesses and residents in sub-zero temperatures on June 14.

That outage led to him writing to Energy Minister Megan Woods asking her to direct the Electricity Authority to review Aurora Energy’s ability to supply electricity to Clyde.

He received a response from the minister on Monday, he said.
In it, Dr Woods said no-one could rely on reliability of power supply and issues surrounding Aurora’s network rested with the Commerce Commission.
The commission is holding a series of public drop-in sessions regarding Aurora early next month.

The commission’s role in Aurora’s investment proposal is to set network reliability standards, as well as determining how much money Aurora should be allowed to recover from its customers to carry out its plan and over what period.

Mr Cadogan believed it was ‘‘extremely important’’ for the people of Central Otago to engage with the commission regarding the quality and resilience of Aurora’s network.
All his dealings with the commission showed it was open to hearing the opinions of consumers, he said.

Key points to be raised at the meetings would be how much Aurora said it was going to cost to have a reliable network and the increases in charges the Commerce Commission was being asked to put in place.

Members of the public would be able to pick up copies of the commission’s consultation document (which will be released on July 30) and talk to commission staff about its role in helping fix Aurora’s network and what Aurora’s proposal meant for them.
Stakeholder meetings would also take place on the same day in each location.

The series of public drop-in sessions begin in Dunedin on August
6.
In Alexandra, the meeting will be held on August 10. Cromwell follows on August 11.
The Wanaka round will be held on August 12.
Finally, Queenstown’s is on August
13.