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Meridian and Contact resolve Manapouri dispute

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 20th October 2000

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State-owned Meridian Energy has settled a dispute with listed energy company Contact over the amount it pays for power during shutdowns of the Manapouri hydro station.

The shutdowns are to allow for work on a second tailrace tunnel project at Manapouri. Meridian cried foul earlier this year during a May shutdown, claiming the prices it was charged by Contact while Manapouri was off-line were extortionate.

At the time Meridian claimed Contact had not stood by a deed signed in 1996 which set the price of power if Contact had to supply Comalco's aluminium smelter at Bluff.

The two companies say they have now been able to negotiate an agreement that is commercially viable for both companies, and covers both the Manapouri shutdown in May this year, and also provides a pricing formula to cover future shutdowns.

They say the settlement will allow the tunnel project to be completed, and for Contact to achieve fair prices for the electricity it generates during Manapouri outages.

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