In 1962 it was estimated that the Electricity Department would spend £100 million for capital works in the following five years. The Department is paying 41½ per cent interest on loan money and provides for loan redemption and depreciation. In terms of the State Supply of Electricity Amendment Act of 1957 provision is made for a contribution from revenue towards financing capital works and the Electric Supply Account is exempt from taxation. The Department is a trading Department so that the cost of operation is not borne by the taxpayer. In 1964 a balance of revenue of more than £4 million was placed in the Reserve Fund to be available for capital works. Some idea of what will be required for the next decade to meet the cost of capital works was shown in the report of the Planning Committee on Electric Power Development which was submitted to Parliament in July 1964. Apart from an endorsement of major works which appeared in the 1963 programme, the committee listed a number of new works which would have to be constructed if the anticipated demand for electricity were to be met. Among such proposals, which in all would amount to £483,000,000, was the development of the Tongariro scheme, involving the construction of power stations at Rangipo and at Kaimanawa.
How natural gas will be used as it becomes available will affect future schemes. In 1963 the Government set up an Electricity Advisory Council, responsible to the Minister of Electricity, to deal with problems peculiar to the electrical supply industry and to ensure continuity of policy for power generation and distribution. As yet no action has been taken regarding setting up a Ministry of Fuel and Power to coordinate the application and use of the various power resources of the country.
by Victor Albert Le Page, B.A., formerly Administrative Officer, New Zealand Electricity Department, Wellington.