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Northpower line holidays to top $105 million

Nikki-Davies-ColleyLR-157Northpower’s latest rebate means its customers will have received more than $105 million in line holidays from the company since 1998.

An estimated 56,000 consumers connected to the Northpower electricity network in Kaipara and Whangarei Districts at 6am on February 11 will receive credits of between $35 and $145 on their next power accounts issued by electricity retailers.

The credit is based on annual energy consumption and the payout is broken into three tiers:

* $145 for people who used more than 15,000 units

* $95 for consumers who used between 2,000 and 15,000 units

* $35 for those who used less than 2000 units

The 2015 Northpower line holiday will result in $5.53m being returned to Northpower consumers throughout Kaipara and Whangarei.

Northpower Chair Nikki Davies-Colley says the payout to consumers is pleasing.

“We are working hard to position Northpower for a sustainable future and that continues to be challenging amidst a changing business environment,” says Mrs Davies Colley.

“This past year has been particularly challenging for a number of reasons, however, significant improvements made by our business in several activities continue to broaden our experience and knowledge and that drives better service levels in our Network and Contracting business units.

“We are very focussed on reinvesting for the future and that will benefit our consumer owners in the short and long term. Our ultra-fast broadband network in Whangarei is an example of that.”

Since 1993, almost $198m has been returned directly to Northpower consumers by the company and the NEPT – $105m in line holidays and $92m in Northpower Consumer Trust distributions. The Trust, which owns Northpower, provided a tax free credit of $83 to every Northpower consumer in December – a total of $4.67m.

Northpower Chief Executive Mark Gatland is reinforcing the need for Northpower to continue developing its innovative business ethos.

“That comes at a cost but the operational and financial rewards are clearly there and I think a necessity for the long-term success of the business,” says Mr Gatland.

“Setting up an additional Central North Island transmission depot at short notice in 2014 was an unplanned expense borne out of a business opportunity which was well worth taking. While this is an example of an activity which will reduce our bottom

line for the 2014/2015 financial year, the return on this investment will come in the next year and beyond.

“We have developed our acoustic testing business unit with potential to be a good earner in New Zealand and Australia because it has application for every electricity network and is both many times more effective than the existing technologies they use and will result in safer, more reliable networks – at lower cost.

“This, combined with the innovations we have implemented for the refurbishment of transmission towers, has gained strong interest from Australian network operators. However, with these mostly large highly regulated businesses it takes time to turn this interest into substantial contracts.”

Mr Gatland says challenges in the New Zealand and Australian contracting markets means Northpower won’t match its record profit levels ($15.9m) of the past financial year; underlying, the business is performing well. He says the company will continue to progress UFB and electric vehicle opportunities in the coming year.

“Our team continues to deal effectively with an array of challenges and opportunities so I am pleased with the underlying performance of our business,” says Mr Gatland.
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