Steps Towards Further Gas Competition

  • Max Bradford

Information disclosure regulations designed to encourage competition in the gas industry will come into force on August 7, Energy Minister Max Bradford announced today.

"I expect to see more competition between gas retailers, with benefits for consumers. Perhaps more important, however, is the prospect of new wholesalers entering the market," Mr Bradford said.

The keys to wholesale gas competition were the availability of gas supplies and access to pipelines for transportation, Mr Bradford said.

"Information disclosure is designed to help open up access to pipelines and reinforce the industry's own efforts, through Gas House, to implement a pipeline access code, " Mr Bradford said.

The Gas (Information Disclosure) Regulations focus on natural monopoly pipeline businesses. As for electricity, the information disclosure regulations aim to separate the natural monopoly elements of distribution from the potentially competitive wholesale and retail sectors of the gas industry.

"The aim is to create an environment where competition for gas supply can develop. It is a key element of the light-handed regulatory framework for both the electricity and gas sectors."

Under the new regulations, gas companies will be required to disclose:

separate financial statements for transmission, wholesale, distribution and retail businesses;
contract prices, terms and conditions;
financial, efficiency and reliability performance measures;
methodologies used;
pipeline capacity information; and
line charges.
Gas companies' disclosures will be available from their principal offices on request. Disclosed financial information is required to be disclosed in the New Zealand Gazette.