As I portended in my article on the drought yesterday, the probability of the electricity generators threatening price increases and famers going on the bludge is more or less one.
Hydro lake levels are falling and wholesale power prices rising as drought threatens in parts of the country.
The country’s biggest hydro generator, Meridian, said its Lake Pukaki storage was just below average, at 94 per cent, and Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau were in the middle of the main normal range.
“We are comfortable with the current situation. As always, we are keeping a close eye on conditions,” a spokesman said.
Meridian’s operating report for December shows its inflows last month were 81 per cent of average.
In its main Waitaki catchment, storage dropped from 99 per cent of average to 91 per cent during the month. Inland eastern areas of the South Island have been particularly dry.
Mighty River Power said that while industry-wide national storage was 93 per cent of average, storage at Lake Taupo, which feeds its Waikato River network of stations, was above average.
Transpower has oversight of the electricity system and says that while there had been a fall in storage to below average in the South Island, the risk of shortages over the next eight to 10 weeks remains low.
Let’s recap: wholesale prices are rising because of the drought, yet the lakes are all just a smidgen below average, and the big bosses are all ‘comfortable’.
With a lake at 9% under average, they are “predicting” big trouble 10 weeeks from now. 10 weeks, because two and a half months sounds too long, and that nearly takes us into April.
There is exactly zero need to put electricity prices up.
– Grant Bradley, NZ Herald