• Max Bradford

"Powerco chief executive Simon Moutter obviously doesn't want his consumers to benefit from competition and cheaper electricity prices," Energy Minister Max Bradford said today.

"I'm disappointed to read of Mr Moutter's attitude towards Contact Energy entering the retail market," he said.

Mr Bradford was commenting on Mr Moutter's criticism of Contact Energy's announcement yesterday afternoon that it would be offering to supply electricity direct to retail customers in Auckland. Mr Bradford has welcomed the news that Contact will be the first company to bring real competition into the retail electricity market in Auckland, and that the company is predicting residential customers will save up to 10 per cent on their current charges and in some cases more.

"Mr Moutter is well known to be an entrenched critic of the Government's recent electricity reforms. This can only mean he is not in favour of a truly competitive market and lower energy prices for householders and businesses.

"The electricity market has changed. The power has moved from power companies to consumers, where choice and lower power prices will be the driving force in the market. A new age in the electricity industry has dawned. Unless they embrace theses changes, power companies will be left behind.

"Competition will very soon give consumers - including householders - real choice about who they buy their electricity from, what they pay for it and the standard of service they receive."