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Mr Boult said the DCC benefited from "highly inflated dividends" from Aurora which should have instead been spent on maintenance and said it should consider footing some of the huge maintenance bill instead of power consumers.
This comes after Aurora outlines a three-year, $400 million programme to tackle ageing electricity infrastructure in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown.
Aurora Energy chief executive Dr Richard Fletcher said the proposed plan, which would need to be approved by the Commerce Commission following consultation, was about the "prudent investment that is essential to meet the needs of our communities now and into our future, to address the errors of the past and position the network for its future use''.
The proposal outlines estimated increases in residential line charges of up to $21 a month in the year ending March 2022, or $252 for the year, followed by up to $10 a month in 2023 and 2024 to fund a significant increase in network and related system upgrades and maintenance.
Mr Boult issued a statement this after noon expressing "deep concern and disappointment" at the scale of potential price increases signalled today by Aurora for its customers in the Queenstown Lakes District.
Aurora has signalled that it will be requesting Commerce Commission approval for price rises which could amount to increases in the order of 18% per annum for some years for both retail and commercial customers in the district, he said.
The proposed increases reflect the requirement to upgrade Aurora’s infrastructure following a long period of underspend on maintenance and replacement.
"This increase is in large part a result of highly inflated dividends paid by Aurora to its owner, the Dunedin City Council over a period of years.
"I would suggest this money should have been invested more wisely in maintaining and improving Aurora’s infrastructure and, if it had been, this situation would not be before us now. It is my belief that the DCC should consider a capital contribution to Aurora as part of addressing this issue.
“I have asked [QLDC] staff to engage with suitable advisers to investigate the proposed increases and to prepare a likely submission to the Commerce Commission strongly opposing the increases. This is an incredibly important issue for us all to consider as a district, and one that has the potential for a significant financial effect."
"I would encourage everyone to take time to be informed.
"We need to be asking Aurora what the alternative options are instead of just hiking prices.
"What are the viable options and what are the implications for us all?
"It may mean a compromise for both our district's ratepayers and Aurora, but we really need to reach the best possible outcome for everyone that makes it both affordable and futureproofed."