Genesis Energy’s transformation to a customer-centric, retail-led business came together in the past year with the addition of more than 6,000 new customers and the roll-out of its first multi-rate tariffs.
The company, already the country’s largest electricity and gas retailer, attributes those customer gains to the quality of its service, flexible pricing options and its ability to leverage its gas and LPG holdings to deliver users a competitive dual-fuel offering.
And despite unprecedented retail competition and high national switching rates, satisfaction rates among Genesis customers improved during the past year, while the company’s churn rate was also about 3 percentage points below the industry average.
The business achieved that growth while also driving new technology into the market.
By March 31 Genesis had 312,000 smart meters deployed, the highest penetration among all electricity retailers and well on the way to the company’s target of 500,000. The company completed two successful multi-rate tariff trials in Auckland and Christchurch and has since put those products in the market.
The company’s ‘Tomorrow Street’ trial of new household energy technology on Auckland’s North Shore is also delivering excellent results.
The trial, launched in May 2012, involves 15 homes and one school using a range of tools including in-home energy management systems, multi-rate tariffs, advanced appliances, and photovoltaic solar installations, to reduce their overall energy consumption.
To date, average monthly savings are running at about 17.7 per cent. The highest average monthly saving was 28.3 per cent, and the largest single saving for one household was 59 per cent once solar PV and insulation had been installed.
And the experience from Tomorrow Street has flowed directly into new products Genesis has developed, such as the firm’s MyMeter application from smart phones, solar power offers, and My Energy Coach.
While the consumer has become the firm’s focus, engineering rigour and safety has not been lost sight of.
In the past year Genesis also completed two major capital projects, including the first major inspection of its 400 MW gas-fired Huntly Unit 5, and the first phase of its $145 million Tekapo Canal remediation project.
This latter work was a huge undertaking involving the building of temporary coffer dams, bridge repairs, the de-watering of three sections of the man-made canal, repairs to the canal surface and a culvert, the installation of new liner, and the refilling of more than five kilometres of empty canal sections.
Work was completed ahead of schedule and just two minor injuries were recorded in the more than 160,000 man hours worked.
The safety record at the Huntly 5 maintenance project was also excellent, with zero recordable injuries in the 65,000 man hours worked.
Health and safety improvement was a major achievement for Genesis last year, with its total recordable injury frequency rate dropping by 60 per cent; largely thanks to the introduction and performance of the ZIP and I.SEE.IT programmes.
And outside the company’s gates, the Whio Forever project, a partnership between Genesis and the Department of Conservation, also enjoyed success.
The number of protected pairs of breeding Whio in the Tongariro region more than doubled in the year to March. As a result, the project’s targets have been brought forward. The groups aim to have 600 pairs of the endangered endemic bird protected by 2016, up from the earlier 500 pairs targeted for 2019.
The Overall Energy Company of the Year category is sponsored by Port Taranaki.