Electricity industry regulations

This page provides information on the regulations covering the electricity industry and how they were developed.

Electricity Industry (Levy of Industry Participants) Regulations 2010

These regulations recover the costs of the Electricity Authority, and specified activities of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Section 129 of the Electricity Industry Act 2010 (the Act) requires the Electricity Authority and EECA to consult with affected parties on proposed appropriations for the coming year, and to advise the government of the outcome of those consultations.

Further information on the Levy section of the Electricity Authority website(external link)

Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulations 2010

These regulations provide for the monitoring and enforcement of the Electricity Industry Participation Code (which governs the arrangements between electricity industry participants), and for various matters relating to the Code, such as liability, appeals and exemptions.

Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulations 2010 on the New Zealand Legislation website(external link)

Electricity Industry Participation Code(external link)

The regulations also provide for a Rulings Panel to consider and decide on complaints about breaches of the Code, and determine disputes and hear appeals under the Code.

Commerce (Levy on Suppliers of Regulated Goods and Services) Regulations 2009

These regulations impose levies on suppliers of:

  • electricity lines services
  • gas pipeline services
  • airport services

for the costs of the Commerce Commission under Part 4 of the Commerce Act 1986 (the Act).

The regulations are made under section 53ZE of the Act.

Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff option for Domestic Consumers) Amendment Regulations 2021

The Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations 2004 required retailers to offer domestic consumers low fixed charge tariff options of no more than $0.30 per day (excluding GST but after any prompt payment discount is subtracted).

In 2019, the Electricity Price Review recommended phasing-out the regulations as they unintentionally shifted costs to low-income households with high electricity needs and could have negative impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, and the environment.

In September 2021, Cabinet agreed to phase-out the low fixed charge tariff regulations over a 5-year period.

Minister of Energy and Resources announces phase-out of low fixed charge tariff regulations(external link) — Beehive website

Phasing-out the regulations will see the maximum low fixed charge increase gradually over 5 years until it is about the same as the standard fixed charge. Each year, the maximum low fixed charge will increase by $0.30. The gradual increase will help minimise the impact of higher power bills on households paying the discounted low fixed charge. While the regulations set the maximum amount, power companies may choose to set lower rates for their low fixed charges.

Maximum low fixed charge
Initial price under 2004 regulations $0.30 a day
1 April, 2022 $0.60 a day
1 April, 2023 $0.90 a day
1 April, 2024 $1.20 a day
1 April, 2025 $1.50 a day
1 April, 2026 $1.80 a day
1 April, 2027 Regulations removed. Power companies are no longer required to offer customers a low fixed charge.

Information about the phase-out is on the Phasing-out low fixed charge tariff regulations webpage.

Phasing-out low fixed charge regulations

The Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations 2004 were amended in December 2021.

Amendments to the regulations(external link) — legislation.govt.nz

Throughout the phase-out, electricity retailers will continue to be required to offer low fixed charge tariff options. These tariff options should incorporate the following design features:

  • domestic consumers consuming less than 8,000kWh, or 9,000kWh for consumers in the lower South Island (Christchurch and below, excluding the West Coast), per year must pay less on a low fixed charge tariff option than on any corresponding tariff option
  • the low fixed charge tariff options are to be advertised in the same manner as existing tariffs
  • the retailer must inform domestic consumers at least annually whether it may be beneficial for them to switch to a low fixed charge tariff option
  • the low fixed charge tariff options need only be available for homes where consumers usually reside
  • all retailers should make the tariffs genuinely available (subject to usual credit-worthiness tests), irrespective of the usage and/or meter configuration of the consumer
  • tariffs with tiers below 8,000kWh per year (eg, a higher c/kWh for the first 2,000kWh per annum) are not permitted to ensure the lower fixed charge offers genuine advantages to small consumers.

The regulations also require distribution companies to offer low fixed charge distributor tariff options (to retailers or direct to consumers) at a maximum of 50% of the new maximum low fixed charge each year, as shown in the table above.

Compliance with the low fixed charge policy will continue to be measured both before and after any rebates or discounts which must apply consistently to consumers regardless of whether they are on a low fixed charge option or standard tariff option.

The Electricity Authority is charged with monitoring and enforcing these regulations.

Electricity Authority website(external link)

Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003

The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 help promote safety and maintain electricity supply by governing, among other things, the trimming of trees near power lines.  

Trees or parts of trees falling on power lines is one of our most common causes of electricity outages - particularly in high winds.

In May 2024, Cabinet agreed to 2 amendments to the Regulations that will target trees directly surrounding existing Growth Limit Zone (GLZ) by creating a “clear to the sky” zone to prevent vegetation hanging over lines. The Regulations will also extend the “notice zone” by 1 metre around the GLZ.

New measures to protect powerlines from trees(external link) — Beehive website

Officials are progressing amendments to the Hazards from Trees Regulations, with an aim to have these Gazetted in September 2024.

Consultation will also begin shortly on further possible amendments to the Regulations that will aim to reduce the risk to power lines from trees outside the GLZ. 

Cabinet decisions on amendments follow MBIE’s consultation on proposed amendments. In March 2023 MBIE published a discussion document seeking feedback from the public and stakeholders on options to amend the Regulations:

Last updated: 21 May 2024