The accolade was announced at the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards in Auckland recently, with the Northland company taking out the Lines Company of the Year title.
Freeman Media, the company behind the awards, cited Northpower’s focus on cost control and delivery, higher operating earnings, a huge improvement in system reliability, significant gains made by the company’s contracting arm, and the success of the company’s fibre rollout as reasons for the win.
The award comes on the back of one of the most successful years on record for the Northpower Network business as it continues to drive innovation, diversity and reliability for the benefit of its consumer owners.
Northpower is owned by the Northpower Electric Power Trust (NEPT) on behalf of its consumers.
Chief Executive Mark Gatland says the award is testimony to the hard work of everyone in the company.
“A result like this starts with our men and women out in the field working in stormy weather in the middle of the night, helping out the people who are ultimately our owners – those consumers connected to Northpower’s electricity network in Kaipara and Whangarei,” says Mr Gatland.
“So from our lines crews in the field to all of our support staff, the people managing and planning our network, to the managers in the company, our Board of Directors and our Trustees – everyone deserves credit because they all play a part. I am grateful for the leadership shown at all of those levels of the business.”
Northpower Network General Manager Graham Dawson says the accolade is immensely pleasing.
“People in Northpower are so passionate and work very hard. That shows in the fact our network reliability (unplanned outages) has improved almost 40% over the past year alone, and that was on top of a 19% improvement the previous year. That is a significant reduction in faults which means we are consistently keeping the power on.
“Because we are consumer-owned, we believe the best way to give a valuable commercial outcome for our consumers is to keep prices low and run our network as efficiently as possible.”
The company is pioneering what will soon be New Zealand’s first complete Ultra-Fast Broadband network that is taking a world-class communications platform to more than 19,000 premises and tens of thousands of Whangarei residents and businesses. The network will be finished months ahead of schedule in early 2014, two years before any other city in the country.
And the Network business is being further strengthened by the Wairua Hydro Power Station, ongoing solar photovoltaic trials, assessment of electric car technology and consideration to the merits of wind generation in Northland.
Due to Northpower’s ongoing solid financial performance, in the financial year ended 31 March, 2013, it made a profit of $11.3 million (up 17% on the 2011/2012 financial year). Since 1993, Northpower (and the NEPT) has given back over $174 million in line holidays and distributions to its consumers.