THE GOVERNMENT OF NEW Zealand has said it would set up an Electricity Commission to manage the power sector to ensure adequate supply in dry years.

New Zealand faced power shortages for the second year in three because of dwindling hydro lake levels, a shortage of natural gas supplies and increased demand. The Commission will be directed to manage the sector such that electricity demand can be met in a 1 in 60 dry year without the need for national conservation campaigns.

Nearly two-thirds of New Zealand’s annual electricity production comes from hydroelectric power stations, and demand is estimated to be growing at about 2% a year.