Retrofitting from Aurora penalties?

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins
Millions of dollars in non-compliance penalties incurred by Aurora Energy could be used for energy efficient initiatives, if Dunedin’s mayor gets his way.

Aaron Hawkins will put forward a motion to next week’s Dunedin City Council meeting to request that all penalties would be reinvested in Aurora’s catchment, rather than going to the Government as they currently do.

Prosecution of the council-owned company covers four different years of non-compliance.

The maximum penalty the Commerce Commission can hand down is $5million per year, but Mr Hawkins said the council was anticipating something closer to that figure in total.

It was unclear who would be responsible for administering the funds, if his motion was passed.

"I’m not asking for the money to go back to Aurora, or even to council, just that it go to supporting energy efficiency projects across the network," Mr Hawkins said.

He was open-minded about what measures could be funded, but an example was work that supported retrofitting houses to reduce their energy consumption.

"This has the advantage of people paying less in terms of the power they use, which would help in terms of offsetting coming lines charge increases.

"But it’s also beneficial in terms of the wider health and social wellbeing outcomes that come with that."

He had not spoken to Aurora about the motion, but had
flagged it with Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Keith Cooper under their "no surprises" approach.

He also took a motion to the recent Otago Mayoral Forum seeking their support, which passed unanimously.

Should the motion pass, the council would make an approach to the Government, and other funders who might want to get involved.

An independent, council-commissioned review of Aurora remains ongoing.

Mr Hawkins said the report was "in its late stages", but was unsure when it would be presented to the council.


Why doesn't he just ask that the money be held by the DCC to offset future rates increases only, since power accounts are linked to residences, and we have ALL paid for services (maintenance) we never received? Then we could ALL have warm homes. That truly would lead to "wider health and social well-being outcomes".

Or is that too simple?

How about you use these funds to pay down some of deficit in lines maintenance that will be passed on to the rate payer?

Am I missing something here? Aurora is short of money for repairs, so wants to put the prices up a lot. And the prices will then stay high as the network asset will be worth so much more, being shiny and new and all that, and there is a DCC "return on asset value" that has to be met. Now Aurora is going to be fined also, which will make them even shorter of money, and the consumers will end up paying for that also?

Not bad, 3 months in office and missing in action. The first we hear is a lame brain idea to change national government policy. Has anyone told him he is mayor of Dunedin, not prime Minister.
Maybe we persuade him to hitch a ride to Wellington. That should get rid of him for a few more weeks. Ah well, 3 months down, 2 and a bit years to go.

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