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The final two Commerce Commission public drop-in sessions to discuss Aurora Energy’s investment plan have been cancelled due New Zealand’s move to Covid-19 Alert Level 2.
The Wanaka session scheduled for yesterday was cancelled and the one to take place in Queenstown today will not go ahead.
Commerce Commission associate commissioner John Crawford said the decision was made due to not being able to predict the number of attendees at the open public drop-in sessions.
The logistics of social distancing and making provisions for face masks at short notice also had to be considered, he said.
He apologised to people who had travelled or taken time off work to attend the sessions.
This follows similar sessions held in Dunedin on Friday, Alexandra on Monday, and Cromwell on Tuesday.
Mr Crawford said the key points from the Dunedin, Alexandra and Cromwell rounds were community disappointment in the level of engagement with consumers, a feeling the current industry structure did not meet its requirements and needs, and not having any input in decision-making.
Other issues raised included: no acknowledgement from the Dunedin City Council of the impact of the failings Aurora had had and would continue to have on businesses and consumers; more clarity on price increases and the ability to afford them; efficiency of spending and cost control; and holding Aurora to account.
Commission staff had found it valuable to hear directly from affected communities about their concerns, Mr Crawford said.
"We are sorry that we are not able to complete our remaining sessions at this time.
"We really want to hear the views of communities in Wanaka and Queenstown Lakes and we are exploring holding online sessions as an alternative."