Inquiry promised into high power prices

If you feel like you're paying too much for your electricity - the new Government agrees.

It's promising a full-scale inquiry into power prices, starting as soon as possible.

Megan Woods was only sworn in as Energy Minister on Thursday and hasn't even moved into the Beehive yet.

However she's exercising her new powers already by targeting power prices.

"New Zealanders are paying too much for their electricity and we want to find out mechanisms that ensure New Zealanders pay a fair price," she says.

Power prices have long been a political football - one that New Zealand First scored with during negotiations with Labour.

Its coalition agreement includes a promise to "hold a full-scale review into retail power pricing".

"All too frequently in winter is people simply can't pay their power bills," Ms Woods says.

Since 2004, power prices have increased nearly every single year, with the unit cost going up $7.30 over the 13-year period - that's an increase of 34 percent.

Transmission costs are likely to be a focus of the review - especially because Transpower has a monopoly on the national grid, and Kiwis can't see how much it's charging.

"Itemised billing is something we will certainly look at. We've had a lot of feedback from people that they need to understand their power bill when it arrives and gives them a shock every month," Ms Woods says.

Details of the review haven't yet been drafted, but Ms Woods wants to have it in front of Cabinet as soon as possible, and completed within 100 days.