Key facts missing

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

Thousands of struggling Kiwi households, already unable to pay their bills, are having their power cut off.

Never mind that in fact the number cut off is 22% less than in 2007.

Power price increases from today are tipped to push bills up to 10 per cent higher, but more increases could be on the way as state-owned grid operator Transpower works on a massive network upgrade.

This is the key fact that is missing from the story. I’ve looked everywhere and have been unable to find it. Which actual power companies are putting their prices up today? Is is Transpower? If so, by how much? Is it one or more generator companies? Is it lines companies? Is it retail companies?

So we do not know who is putting the prices up, how much they are being put up, and who is “tipping” that they will push prices up by 10% or higher.

I’m not saying power prices are not going to go up 10%. But this story doesn’t give me any info on which to know if what the story says is accurate or not.  It would be good if the story said (for example) “Transpower’s prices have gone up 5% today, and xxx of yyy says they believe this will cause retail prices to increase by over 10%”.

Incidentally I looked up the CPI figures for the latest available quarter. For household energy, the price movement is from 1272 to 1302 from Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 which is a 2.4% annual increase only.

In National’s first term in office, household energy costs as measured by the CPI went up 10.3%. That includes the GST increase and the impact of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The increases in Labour’s last term was 23.5% and the term before was 23.9%.

Back to the story, I also note the caption with the story is:

Power prices are set to go up 10 percent, with more increases likely on the way, leaving battling consumers “sick to the stomach”.

So again this claim of increases of up to 10% is made, without us knowing on what basis it is made, or even who predicted it. And the caption also has a quote that this is leaving battling consumers “sick to the stomach”, and this quote does not actually appear in the main story, so we again have no idea who this is a quote from.

So people don’t blame the journalist, it is possible all this information was in the story they submitted, and sub-editors butchered it out. But regardless the end result is a story which doesn’t provide any details to back up the headlines.

UDATE: Just seen the print edition and amazed this is the front page lead. If a story is on the front page I do expect that someone would have checked that basic facts were not missing from it.

UPDATE2: Have done a further post here. Seems the online story used info from two different stories, which is why some stuff was missing.

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