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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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The Electrical Industry: New Zealand's Biggest Business

In addition to the £304,000,000 invested in the State generating system, local distributing authorities have invested about £100,000,000, mainly in local distribution. This includes some generating plant and brings the generating capacity of the public supply system in 1965 to 2,336,000 kW. Moreover, many millions of pounds have been spent both by domestic and by commercial consumers on electrical equipment.

In 1964, 99·55 per cent of the total population (2,590,000) lived in a supply area; 563,000 electric ranges and 642,000 electric water heaters were in use; 3,460 units per capita were generated; and 8,303 per consumer were sold retail at an average price of 1·3548d. a unit.

When considering the per capita generation it must be remembered that New Zealand is not highly industrialised and that about three-fifths of the power generated are consumed in the home or farm. The distribution of the 7,577,489,000 units sold in 1964 was as follows: domestic, 58·18 per cent; farm, 2·93 per cent; commercial, 9·57 per cent; industrial, 27·82 per cent; street lighting, 0·86 per cent; and traction, 0·58 per cent.