Vector warns power bills could rise if move to renewable energy not managed well

Hamish Cardwell for RNZ

Power and gas supply company Vector is warning people's power bills could go up if the transition to renewable energy needed to cut climate emissions is not carefully managed.

Electrifying cars and replacing coal boilers in factories is a crucial part of the global project to slash damaging gases and avoid catastrophic warming.

But Vector is warning against what it calls "disorderly decarbonisation" - massively expanding power generated from solar and wind without also investing in digital technology to manage peak time demand, for example, when people charge their electric vehicles.

It said a lack of demand-side measures would mean large power infrastructure and generation upgrades would be needed to cope with the extra load on the network.

It said the extra costs could be borne by consumers.

The call comes in a voluntary report by the company on climate risks and opportunities, and comes ahead of mandatory reporting on climate risk by large companies, banks, and insurers, which starts next year.

The report also warns against shutting down gas networks early without a managed transition.

Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie is calling for the creation of a ministry of energy to drive the transition to zero carbon.

"The industry has never seen change like this and it is too important to get wrong."

Mackenzie said it required a coordinated approach, with the dedicated leadership and resources of a ministry driving the change rather than being dispersed across a number of regulators and government agencies.