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Top Energy is New Zealand’s 2012 Lines Company

Media Release

Kerikeri, 16 August 2012


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Top Energy is New Zealand’s 2012 Lines Company of the Year
Industry applauds changes to the business

Far North electricity generator and lines network company Top Energy is New Zealand’s 2012 Lines Company of the Year. The award was presented last night by Hon Phil Heatley, Minister for Energy and Resources at the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards in Auckland.

Top Energy was recognised particularly for the marked turnaround in the safety and reliability of its network operation, the network investment savings it has been able to generate for customers while simultaneously rolling out a development plan of unprecedented scale, and its innovative approach to improving electricity supply in the more isolated rural parts of the region.

The other lines companies on the shortlist for the award were Orion and Powerco.

“To have won this award against such a high calibre of competition speaks volumes for the changes we have made across our business,” Shaw said. “We are extremely proud of this result – it’s a ringing endorsement of the investment the people of the Far North are making, through us, in improving and developing the vital energy infrastructure of the region.”

Top Energy’s transformation from New Zealand’s worst-performing lines company to 2012 Lines Company of the Year started three years ago. It re-engineered its business processes, recruited new staff, expanded its technical training and introduced a cultural change across the organisation with a focus on safety, reliability and productivity.

“We’re starting to see the benefits of all this work,” Shaw said. “The transformation has matured Top Energy into an active industry participant; customer-focused and open to doing things differently.”

Top Energy’s 10-year network investment and expansion programme is well under way and its asset management plan was last year labelled by the Commerce Commission ‘best and most compliant with disclosure requirements’ of all the NZ distribution companies.

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Approximately $18m was spent in the 2012 financial year on network improvements. Examples include new lines between Kaikohe and Kaitaia, Haruru and Te Tii Bay, and Ngawha and Kaikohe; a new 33kV feeder line and substation for Kerikeri; ground fault neutralisers to reduce outages in Kaitaia, Kawakawa and Waipapa; and mobile stand-by generators to improve security of supply immediately in places where additional lines are still some years away from being built.

The strategy for the network is that service quality will continue to improve over time and that within five years Top Energy’s Network reliability will be similar to the performance of the other lines companies in its rural network peer group.

The high-profile Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards, now in its third year, recognises leadership and achievement across the New Zealand electricity, oil, gas and petroleum industries. Last night’s honour crowns a productive awards season for Top Energy. In June it won both the Engineering Excellence and Employee Safety categories in the 2012 Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA) Awards.

ENDS

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