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Contact Seeks New Business In Christchurch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

20 February 2002

Contact Seeks New Business In Christchurch

Contact Energy is moving quickly to offer competitive fixed tariff contracts to major electricity consumers in the Christchurch market, Contact’s General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Steve Cross, said today.

“Contact has identified an opportunity in the Christchurch market and has had a sales team active in Christchurch for a couple of weeks,” said Mr Cross. “This is an excellent commercial opportunity for Contact, and we are moving quickly to offer service to Meridian customers who continue to want fixed tariff contracts.

“We have already signed a number of new customers of significant size and are confident that we will sign more over coming days at rates which are competitive in today’s electricity market,” Mr Cross.

“This move is a precursor to the resumption in the near future of taking new domestic customers in Christchurch as well.”

Mr Cross acknowledged that new fixed tariff contracts were being written at higher tariffs than those applying for many customers in the past.

“Circumstances will differ from customer to customer, depending on factors such as how long ago they signed their expiring contracts, the size of their load, and the customers’ own judgements about their risk profile and energy needs.

“However, it is clear that the electricity market has changed markedly from last winter, with many businesses less willing to bear exposure to the wholesale electricity spot market prices. There is a far greater demand for fixed price tariffs, and greater concern not to bear the risk of facing wholesale electricity market spot prices.

“These factors, combined with a shrinking gap between total generating capacity and total national demand for electricity, have placed upward pressure on electricity tariffs,” Mr Cross said.

“However, New Zealanders continue to pay among the lowest power prices in the developed world.”

Contact currently has only a small presence in the Christchurch market and has not accepted new domestic customers since mid-2001.


For further information, contact:

Pattrick Smellie
Media Relations
(04) 4959753
(021) 588203

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