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Bringing changes to anti-competitive behaviour

Media Statement

Former Transpower CEO working with Energy Trusts to bring changes to anti-competitive behaviour

It is time to give consumers the facts on who charges what

Wellington (12 Dec 2003)

The Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc [ETNZ] has engaged the services of Bob Thomson, former Chief Executive of Transpower, to assist ETNZ in its ongoing efforts to fully represent the interests of consumer-owners of most of the lines companies in New Zealand.

Our 25 member trusts own most of the lines companies in this country, with an estimated investment of over $5 Billion. Those trusts represent the consumers who own these key infrastructure companies. The decision to employ Bob Thomson reflects our growing concern about recent policies that threaten the value of consumers’ assets and impose de facto extra taxes on consumers.

ETNZ has concerns ranging from the relatively simple case of separating the distribution and energy charges on an electricity account, through to the current government policy focus on smoothing the path for major investments by Crown-owned generators.

Bob Thomson has a vast depth of industry experience, and is widely respected as a person who will speak his mind. His advice and guidance will be of considerable benefit to ETNZ as we move forward and position our member trusts for the changes that lie ahead. Bob has a wide appreciation of policy and operational issues and already we have identified opportunities to work with the Electricity Networks Association [ENA] on certain matters that are of mutual interest to our respective organisations.

The road ahead will be a challenge for both owners and operators of lines companies. Jointly we face the untried behaviour and deliberations of the Electricity Commission and it is critical that we understand the threats and changes that lie ahead for our member trusts, which are both owner and consumer focused. There are also the significant financial implications that arise from the Commerce Commission’s price and profit path methodologies.

The Government, and the government commissions referred to, deserve to be given sound and objective opinion from the owners and from the consumers whom ETNZ represents. For our part the Bob Thomson will help us achieve deliver this in a professional, very informed manner.

Bob enjoys the confidence and respect of many people and organisations in the electricity industry, and through this we can hope to best represent the views of ETNZ where and when appropriate.

Ken Gilligan

ETNZ is an incorporated society of energy trusts, the majority of which hold shares in companies which operate electricity networks (lines businesses) throughout New Zealand. ETNZ has twenty-five member trusts. Most ETNZ member trusts hold shares in companies that acquired the assets of local community owned power companies, or Power Boards. Those shares are held on behalf of beneficiaries who are, in the main, local electricity consumers. The value of the investments exceeds $5 Billion.

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