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Rowan Butler and Sam Jeffs have led a successful appeal on behalf of Haast Energy Trading and Electric Kiwi against decisions of the Electricity Authority. The appeal was allowed by Cull J sitting in the Wellington High Court – see here.

The appeal arose out of a National Grid Emergency, which occurred on 9 August 2021, as a result of record demand for power and insufficient electricity generation. Due to a series of Notices issued by Transpower during the emergency, some 34,000 homes were disconnected. The Notices also led to the wrongful imposition of what is known as Scarcity Pricing under the Electricity Code, leading to the wholesale price of electricity being mispriced by $130m across four 30-minute trading periods.

If the pricing error had not been reversed, Haast stood to lose a material amount on various hedging contracts it held. Haast successfully argued that the imposition of Scarcity Pricing was unlawful, as the trigger for Scarcity Pricing under the Code had not been met. As a result, the High Court accepted there had been an error of law. The Judgment follows from Haast’s successful application for interim relief (which resulted in increased costs being awarded against the Authority – see here).

Rowan and Sam were ably assisted by Thomas Refoy-Butler at Holland Beckett.