The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that over $7 million of taxpayer money has been spent on the power bills of 94 of New Zealand’s largest companies since July 2014. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) ‘large energy users programme’ provides funding to businesses, in an attempt to encourage them to reduce energy use. Of this $7 million, more than $1 million has been wasted on 'initiatives' which haven't recorded any energy savings to date.
Taxpayer money doesn’t need to be spent telling the country’s largest power users to save power. All of these companies pay millions for power, and have every interest as it is to lower their energy use.
As a lawyer, I used to act for an association of major electricity users. If the EECA don’t think that the corporations at the big end of town aren’t looking at how electricity costs can be saved, they are delusional.
This whole regime is a little bit of a rort. Electricity users are taxed so that officials can tell people to use less power, meanwhile, people rightly scratch their heads about why electricity is so expensive.
We asked how much money has been recovered from companies where taxpayers' money has been thrown at projects where the promised energy savings cannot yet be demonstrated, and it appears that not a single dollar has been recovered.
At best, it’s a waste of money and pointless, at worst, it is corporate welfare in an environmental jacket, paid for by kiwis who have to pay more to turn on their heater.
A response to our Official Information Act request shows:
- - A total of $7,086,004 has been paid to companies since July 2014, up until the 21 March 2017 (the date of release by EECA);
- - The largest payment was made to ANZCO Foods Limited, who had received $668k since their partnership with EECA began in 2012;
- - Around $1.1 million of funding has been delivered to corporations who had not recorded any energy savings to date.
See the response below:
Under the large energy users programme, the country’s largest energy users can enter into an agreement with EECA to enter co-funded projects, with up to 40% provided by EECA, which aim to reduce the company’s energy use and emissions.
More information can be obtained on EECA’s website: https://www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/funding-and-support/support-for-large-energy-users/