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POLICY OF BOARD "PAST WISDOM NOW SHOWN" "It has been the policy of the board to conduct its business on conservative lines—we have always striv'en to reduce our rates as we considered it wise, but we have also striven to build up reserves for a rainy day," said Mr. S. J. Harbutt, chairman of the Auckland Electric Power Board, in a iuncheon address to the Auckland Junior Chamber of Commerce to-day.

The wisdom of this policy was shown now when they faced a capital expenditure of well over £1,750,000, said Mr. Harbutt. The board would be able to meet this without having to go on the money market at a time when so much was required for post-war needs.

Mr. Harbutt traced the history of Auckland's electricity supply and stressed the phenomenal growth and development that had taken place. Recently, he said, the Auckland board had submitted to the Local Body Commission a comparison of Auckland's figures with Wellington's. Wellington's area was approximately 26 square miles— Auckland 325 square miles. Wellington had 128.5 consumers to each route mile, whereas Auckland, through its widely spread area, had only 54.

In spite of these figures Auckland's average return per unit from supply was .762 pence against Wellington's .783, and since these figures had been published Auckland rates had been reduced by over £90,000 a year. Uniform Rates Another thing outstanding in Auckland was that they charged the same rates at the remotest part of the area as they did in the city. "I submit that this is an accomplishment of which we can feel proud," said Mr. Harbutt. "I venture to suggest that what the Auckland board has achieved is a testimony to sound engineering and the sound business sense of all concerned." In the North Island there were numerous small hydro schemes that could be developed most economically and which could be made available before the major Waikato schemes. Unfortunately here again the Government's attitude was one of opposition to any small scheme. It was a case of "major schemes or nothing."

While undoubtedly major hydro plants were ideal, the small hydro schemes were also a sound economical proposition and proved most helpful in building up reserve sources of power to relieve transmission losses.

Future Developments

"It may surprise you to know the future possible developments on the Waikato River," said Mr. Harbutt. "There are no less than 10 schemes planned. Starting at Huka it is proposed to use almost every foot of the river by a series of dams which will turn the river into a succession of lakes. The prospects for the future are good, providing that Governments of the future have the foresight to construct the stations in time.

"You will appreciate the disappointment it is to the board, after spending 20 -years endeavouring to create and build up the eleotricitymindedness of the community, and so give the blessing of modern conveniences, and at the same time conserve the coal resources of the Dominion, to find ourselves now being compelled to curtail the use of electric current. One can only hope and trust that the greatest possible efforts will be brought to bear to correct this position in the shortest possible' time," Mr. Harbutt ended.

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Bibliographic details

AUCKLAND POWER, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

Word Count

AUCKLAND POWER Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 168, 18 July 1945

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