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Generating Scarcity: How the Gentailers Hike Electricity Prices and Halt Decarbonisation

Cover of Generating Scarcity report

This report, co-authored by FIRST Union, the NZCTU, and 350 Aotearoa, shows that since the partial privatisation of our electricity companies, the four big generator-retailers (“gentailers”) have delivered billions-of-dollars in excess dividends to shareholders.  

From 2014 to 2021 these firms have collectively paid out $3.7 billion more in dividends to their shareholders than they have earned in profits – an average excess dividend of $459 million each year. This has starved Aotearoa New Zealand’s electricity network of the investment needed to build new generating capacity and transition to a low emissions economy. This has also meant higher energy bills for households.  

The report calls on government, as the largest gentailer shareholder, to set mandatory profit reinvestment targets, to invest the excess dividends it has received since the partial privatisation in community and household electricity schemes, and to levy a windfall tax on the gentailers for the remainder of the excess dividend.