This year could see the electricity industry again being recognised as a leading performer in a growing economy, ENA chairman Warren Moyes says.
"After a decade of reforms, we now need sensible decisions by regulators. The challenge this year is to begin looking at the all-important issue of re-investment in electricity.
"The electricity industry, in common with the wider energy sector, is facing huge challenges now, due to more than a decade of reforms that included the forced sell-down of generation assets, a large-scale takeover of much of the industry by State-owned enterprises, and a series of initiatives aimed at controlling supposed monopoly powers which very soon became directed just at the lines sector, which is the one part of the industry not dominated by government agencies."
Moyes said New Zealand couldn't afford to keep "fiddling" with the business environment for such a vital segment of the economy.
"We need investment in the industry to ensure that tomorrow's energy and power quality needs are met.
"The past few years have been difficult for lines companies, which have had to defend themselves, and the consumers and community groups that own them, from efforts by a few major industry players to shift income away from investments in vital infrastructure.
Some policy makers appeared to now be lifting their focus away from profit regulation and towards ensuring that investment occurred.
"The association hopes this shows the government realises that investment is essential for ongoing security of supply. I'm hopeful we're entering a more mature regulatory era at last," Moyes concluded.