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Meridian says Thankyou with $1.65m power reward

Media Release from Meridian Energy and the Plunket Society
For immediate release Friday July 11 2003

Meridian says “thank-you” with
$1.65m power saving reward

Meridian Energy is to donate a cash and energy efficiency package worth $650,000 to Plunket, in recognition of the country’s effort towards achieving a 10 percent saving in power.

The power generator and retailer will also pay a total of $1m to reward its top 10,000 eligible energy savers over the winter period, who will receive a $100 credit on their pre-Christmas power bill. Those customers have the option of donating it to one of ten charities.

The package to Plunket consists of a $500,000 cash donation and $150,000 worth of energy efficiency products and services. This will include insulation and Climate Control systems (heat pumps) for Plunket’s 21 family centres around New Zealand and 200 sets of DIY energy efficiency kits to be handed out to needy families and Plunket facilities as identified by Plunket.

Meridian Chief Executive Keith Turner says the package will deliver much-needed financial assistance to Plunket, as well as the means of making savings in its electricity costs on an on-going basis.

“Plunket is a much-loved New Zealand institution delivering a valuable service to thousands of New Zealand families each year. This package will be of considerable assistance in maintaining and expanding those services to those who need them.”

Meridian originally offered to pay Plunket $1m if the country as a whole achieved the 10 percent power saving called for over winter by the now-disbanded Winter Power Taskforce.

In the event, a combination of rain in the hydro catchment areas, improved thermal fuel supplies and the savings achieved in the early weeks of the campaign meant that the 10 percent target has been abandoned.

Dr Turner says the package being donated by Meridian recognises the efforts of New Zealanders to make power savings in the lead-up to winter.

“Although we didn’t reach the 10 percent on a sustained basis, and the target became irrelevant, it is clear that the savings that were achieved contributed in no small way to averting a possible crisis this winter. We feel that this deserves to be recognised, and that Plunket will be seen by most New Zealanders as a worthy recipient.”

Dr Turner says although the immediate urgency of the winter power situation is now over, it still makes good sense to save electricity.

“We’ve all got into some pretty good energy efficiency habits over the last few weeks, and it would be a pity to let these go. Our advice is that to lock those power savings habits in – apart from anything else, they are very worthwhile from the household budget point of view to reduce your power bill.. They also help protect the environment by making better use of New Zealand’s energy resources.”

Plunket chief executive, Paul Baigent, said the Meridian initiative to involve Plunket in power savings was a unique gesture and one deeply appreciated by the Society.

“As Meridian has issues with power shortages, Plunket has issues with funding shortages. We are delighted that New Zealand families - most of whom are Plunket babies or have Plunket babies in their families - supported the call for power savings.

“It has been a tremendous effort and one that has brought Plunket a much-needed cash donation and an opportunity for Plunket Clinics and Family Centres to make on-going electricity savings, through the installation of electricity saving equipment.

“The energy efficiency lessons learned throughout the community and costs saved by families will hopefully be on-going.

“We are indeed grateful to Meridian Energy and to power consumers,” said Mr Baigent.


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