Grady Cameron

Winner
2014

Delta Utility Services has established a track record for delivering value to clients in the five years Grady Cameron has run the business.

In that time, Delta’s revenue from third-party electrical services has increased by 70 per cent.

The company has also secured long-term network maintenance contracts and capital build projects from other distributors including Network Tasman and Nelson Electricity, and neighbouring network PowerNet.

It has completed 36,700 smart meter installations since 2009, including just over 24,000 in Dunedin, Otago, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne in the past year.

In February Delta began a new two-year contract to provide technical and tunnel services for Contact Energy’s Clutha hydro-electric power stations.

At March 31, the two companies Grady oversees – Aurora Energy and Delta – had combined assets worth $460 million and revenue of $195 million.

Delta says Grady, who was recently made a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, has repositioned the business by putting the customer at the core of its principles.

Only by listening to its customers and understanding their needs, can the business apply its best thinking to deliver results that make a noticeable difference, he says.

Collaboration

The company cites an innovative risk-sharing agreement Delta put in place for a $1.5 million line upgrade for PowerNet as an example of that type of thinking in action.

A maximum price was agreed for the 14-kilometre Mossburn to Athol line, but the contract also included a formula for sharing any savings on the four-month, 184-pole installation completed in April.[factfile]

PowerNet says the deal structure delivered excellent results in terms of both the commercial outcome and the quality of the physical works completed.

Commercial performance is important to Grady. During the past five years, cumulative dividends from Aurora and Delta to owner Dunedin City Council increased by $67 million.

But Delta says Grady is also acutely aware of Aurora’s importance as the country’s sixth-largest electricity distributor, and the key role the business plays in the region as a major employer and as the provider of reliable and affordable electricity supply for the region’s on-going economic and social wellbeing.

He is a board member of Electricity Networks Association and was a founding member of the SmartCo Board, which laid the foundation for the group’s smart meter roll-out now underway.

Since joining Delta, Grady has focused on improving risk management and health and safety performance. As a result, lost time injuries per million hours worked have fallen from 12.45 in 2009 to 1.97 in 2013.

Grady has also committed the company to rolling out the Smartrak positioning system across the entire vehicle fleet, enhancing the safety of all workers and improving response times.

Restructure

The company says Grady’s ‘people first’ approach was again reflected in his handling of the restructuring of the Delta business in 2013. With the pronounced slow-down in civil projects outside Auckland and Christchurch, Grady took the tough decision to refocus Delta on its core energy and environmental services operation, with the loss of 120 of the then 660 workforce and the closure of four business units.

Delta says Grady insisted that those affected were dealt with openly and with respect and that strenuous efforts were made to support them into new jobs.

Throughout his time with Aurora, the business has maintained its focus on providing a reliable regional electricity supply, coupling prudent asset management and investment with a determination to maintain cost efficiency.

As a result, Aurora’s gross line charge has been consistently below the industry average across all 29 electricity distributors for the past five years.  

Gross line revenue rose to 6.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in the year to March 2013, but was still below the industry average of 7.7 cents.  

Aurora also achieved better than average reliability with 76 SAIDI minutes recorded for the period, compared with the industry average of 175 minutes. The average duration of each fault was also below the industry average at 72 minutes, compared with 85 minutes nation-wide.

The Young Executive of the Year category is sponsored by ABB