Powerco, operator of the New Zealand's largest electricity network by line length and the second-largest gas pipelines business, performed well all round in 2012.

The company recorded another strong financial performance, with revenue, EBITDAF and net profit all up on the previous period. It achieved those gains while ensuring prices remain fair for its consumers.

After adjusting for inflation, Powerco’s total operating expenditure fell by about 3 per cent a year from 2008 through 2011, compared with an average industry increase of about 2 per cent a year.

Average per-unit electricity prices paid by residential customers rose by about 4 per cent over the period, roughly half the industry average.

And the company’s investment programme is delivering results.

Powerco’s SAIDI threshold for 2013 was 175.78, well within the 210.10 assessment limit. This result reflects an excellent performance following favourable weather conditions throughout the year. In the 12 months to March 31, the company achieved 99.97 per cent electricity reliability.

Network investments

In the past year, Powerco completed $104.8 million and $34.1 million of capital and maintenance expenditure respectively. This was spent on a number of network investment projects including new lines, upgrades to substations and transformers in Tauranga, Wanganui, Taranaki, Manawatu and the Coromandel. The majority of the projects were completed on time and within budget.

Returns on the company’s multi-million dollar investment in the Coromandel are being realised now.  Back in 2007, an average customer in the region experienced six power cuts per year and spent 33 hours without power. Now, customers have an average of two power cuts per year and spend just three hours without power.

And, continuing in the tradition of its BASEPOWER remote generation initiative, Powerco last year began a New Zealand-first trial using an unmanned aerial vehicle - a hexicopter - to assess poles and cross arms using high quality video footage of hard-to-access assets. The company is also trialling combinations of solar photo-voltaics and energy storage options to test their suitability for limiting peak residential loads.

An asset modelling and network performance tool has been developed, which combines network and financial performance data with physical asset data in one place. This enables staff to easily access information on all of the company’s network assets.

Customers were happy with Powerco’s service, with 93 per cent of customers saying they were satisfied with the company. And employees were engaged - 85 per cent say they would recommend the business as a great place to work.


The Lines Company of the Year award category is sponsored by TE Connectivity.