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A very important . question was raised yesterday by a large and influential deputation which waited on the Hon. W. Fraser, Minister of Public Works, in regard to the question of Government competition with the City Council and local bodies in the suppb* of electrical power from the Lake Coleridge scheme.

Cr. A. S. Taylor said that the deputation represent <\ not only the City Council, but alsn the whole of the surrounding local bodies, including Sumner, New Brighton, Riccarton, Spreydou, Halswoll, and Waimairi. The city had the contract for the sapply of energy on the basis that the larger the amount taken the less the charge would be per kilowatt. _ The City Council had submitted prices to the surrounding local bodies afc which they felt^hey would be safe in supplying* energy. Outside local bodies had two choices—they could apply direct to the Government or to the City Council for power. The Department, in dealing with a number of local bodies negotiating regarding the price of power, had made a most important reservation, namely, that the Department would supply large power-users of over 15 to 20 horse-power direct. This supplying of current to larger power users would have a serious effect on the prices charged by the City Council, which had offered to supply local bodies with power on a schedule of prices based on.' the assumption that the Council^ would have the whole supply.' R Tf "the Government reserved the right to supply power to large consumers, the Council would have to revise its scale of charges, and in increasing its prices would lose its best consumers owing to local bodies having to charge higher prices for energy. The deputation ' was there to urge strongly upon the Government to give a guarantee that where the city arranged to supply- a local body the Government should not enter into competition. They wished to take a broad-minded view of the whole question, while doing their duty as citizens, but he would point out that the matter came home more to local bodies than to the City Council. The Hon. Mr Fraser said ho wished to disabuse their minds of any notions that the Government desired to enter into competition with the City Council and the adjacent local bodies. The 1 Government had to consider the fact ! that a very large amount of money , had been punk in this scheme, which all desired should be a commercial success. It was the first experiment of this kind in New Zealand. Several similar schemes had been proposed in various parts of the Dominion, but it had been finally resolved |to try this one. It would depend entirely on the success of this scheme whether 'the others would be started. It was therefore absolutely necessary for the Government to keep a free hand in the matter. He did not think the smaller local bodies would be able to supply the power to consumers at a profitable rate, owing to the cost of administration. They had no engineers and no staffs to deal with the matter. In the city there was one staff for a much larger area. His views as head of the Department were that it would, be very difficult for local bodies to distribute the power i to consumers, as none of them would be able to do so without* lan initial" outlay of from £2000 to i £3000. The whole matter would, however, be gone into w rhen the City Council and the local bodies came to him with a concrete proposal, when they, would 'learn what the views of the Government were. He could not say that the Government was-not going to make arrangements to supply large users of power outside the city. As soon as the power was brought in the Government wanted a return for its 'money as quickly as possible. The Government wanted to be perfectly ,reasonable,'and if the city undertook in advance to supply the .whole of the municipalities, the . Government could then transfer its contracts if the consumers M rere: willing. I After a number of questions had been asked the deputation withdrew.

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Bibliographic details

QUESTION OF GOVERNMENT COMPETITION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8810, 5 March 1914

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QUESTION OF GOVERNMENT COMPETITION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8810, 5 March 1914

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