Market update October 2020


The old saying ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ remains very true in the energy industry.

In July 2020, NZSA (i.e. Tiwai Point smelter) announced the closure of the smelter in August 2021. This was a big disruptor because Tiwai uses around 13% of New Zealand’s total electricity. A few weeks after this announcement, the ASX Futures (NZ electricity prices) fell significantly from Q3 2021 onwards, and we hoped that we were seeing an end to the volatile and high electricity prices experienced over the last two years.

However, since our last market update, persistent lobbying, which may or may not be connected to electioneering, led to speculation that the smelter could continue operations beyond August 2021. This market speculation was confirmed on 31 August 2020, which immediately resulted in New Zealand electricity prices on the ASX Futures climbing straight back to where they had been prior to the initial closure announcement. Based on these price movements, we calculate that the market is factoring in the cost of the smelter remaining at $800M per annum.

Weathering the weather factor

As if the smelter situation was not frustrating enough, the prevailing conditions which caused the volatility in pricing through 2020 and into 2021 continue. Generation options continue to be limited due to low rainfall, inconsistent wind patterns, and the continuing high price for natural gas for electricity generation.

If you have ever tried to wade through the subtle differences between retailer offers, or understand the range of offerings and which will benefit you the most, you’ll know it can be next to impossible to pin down savings with any confidence. Factoring in the Tiwai smelter situation, and the impact hydrology has on electricity pricing, only makes the decision even more opaque.

This is where Smart Power’s experience and industry relationships add value. We navigate and manage energy procurement for our clients, and make sure your supply arrangements match your operational requirements. Take the hassle out of energy procurement and leave your staff to focus on their core business. Contact Smart Power to find out about cost-effective energy procurement, and how we can help you add value to your business.