Media Release

18 October 2017

STATEMENT TO TVNZ SEVEN SHARP

Below is the statement from Sean Horgan, Chief Executive which was provided to TVNZ Seven Sharp to assist with their story.

 
I acknowledge the challenges caused by the charging system run by this Company in the past.
 
It was a method that experts had long ago said we should use to share the cost of running the network among customers. It led to some bizarre outcomes, such as bearing the costs and usage of previous owners of your home. It was an approach that worked for the organization, but not for our customers. 
 
So this year we turned to the community itself, and new experts in meeting customer needs, for the solution.
 
After consultation, we are now trialling a new method. In short, it links the cost each customer pays for the powerlines, to the times in which they use power. If you use power at the times of highest demand, you pay more for the powerline that gets it to you.
 
The actual prices we will charge are under review. 
 
But a new charging and pricing system doesn’t change the overall cost of running the power network – it just spreads the costs differently among customers.
 
Our region has been dealt a tough hand by the electricity system: the longest powerline network and the fewest customers per kilometre. 
 
The low number of customers spread across a large area, means network cost will always be more expensive here, even if the power itself is as cheap as anywhere else.  
 
We would welcome any review of our industry.
 
ENDS
 
For more information contact:
Yvette Ronaldson
Communications Advisor
Phone:  027 808 4449
 
 
 
13 September 2017
 

Valuable insights from TLC Pricing Review Focus Groups

 
This week,  and as part of its review of its Pricing,  the Lines Company (TLC) completed a third round of community focus groups across its network.   These follow similar meetings held in November 2016 and April and May this year.
 
The groups which are representative of the area, met in Mangakino, Ohakune, Otorohanga, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti and Turangi for an update on the review, the proposed time-of-use (ToU) pricing approach and to consult on next steps, including best methods of communicating and educating ToU to communities and customers.
 
At each of the 2 – 2 ½ hour sessions, group members were able to ask questions about the pricing approach and were provided an update on the current ToU trial being carried out across the network.
 
Participants were asked for feedback from the customer’s perspective and to provide suggestions of particular initiatives they believed would help customers understand the proposed changes and improve their energy efficiency.  
 
Common themes from the workshops included using multi-agency opportunities such as community-based social and other services, drop-in sessions and a range of media channels when educating customers about ToU. 
 
 “There’s been clear messages from the community.  They want change and they want it done once; and right,” says TLC Chief Executive, Sean Horgan. 
 
“That’s where this week’s focus groups have come into their own.  They have been really positive.  There was a high level of engagement, with really good, practical input and ideas that will genuinely help our customers with what is probable change. Especially gratifying was a direct offer from social services attendees to assist our most vulnerable consumers.”
 
Earlier this month TLC launched a trial of ToU as the proposed pricing approach with a representative group of customers across the network.  The trial, which is set to run until at least the end of March next year, will test the systems and processes needed to support ToU with participants.
 
The TLC Board will make a decision of ToU pricing later this year, and if approved, customers would see a change in 2018.
Further information, including some frequently asked questions, is available on TLC’s website www.thelinescompany.co.nz
 
Ends
 
For more information contact:
Anne Beex
Communications Consultant
On behalf of The Lines Company
Phone: 0275 898 455
 
 
 
11 September 2017
 

The Lines Company (TLC) update on power restoration following weekend of stormy weather

 
The Lines Company (TLC) today confirmed restoration of power supply to around 3500 customers affected at various times over the weekend due to a combination of stormy weather, snow and a Transpower supply outage, over the two day period.
 
Some 20 TLC field staff from Taumarunui, Te Kuiti and Turangi worked throughout the weekend restoring power to a range of customers.
 
A Transpower fault dropped supply into TLC’s Ongaruhe substation on Saturday impacting around 3000 customers in the wider Taumarunui, Ohura, Ongaruhe and Owhango areas.  A back feed supply from Tokaanu ensured all customers had power by Saturday evening.   
 
A small number of customers at Benneydale were also without power when trees fell on lines during Saturday’s stormy weather.  
 
Heavy snow around noon on Sunday brought trees down onto lines and poles in the central plateau forestry area causing supply issues at National Park and Turangi.  Some 10 power poles remain down in various parts of the area, however only 10 customers continue to be without supply.  Generators are being brought in as required to support those customers. 300 Raurimu customers also had no power at times on Sunday afternoon.     
 
“It would be fair to say the majority of the North Island has experienced severe weather conditions over the last several days, with the King Country hit by lightning storms earlier last week and now two days of unceasing torrential rain and a significant snow dump,” said Chief Executive, Sean Horgan.  
 
“Conditions were difficult throughout the storms and it was slow going for our crews. We needed to control the load into the network on Sunday to make sure supply came through to customers despite the continual interruptions and the ongoing Transpower outage.  We would like to thank affected customers for their help, understanding and support of our staff in the field.”  
 
At the height of the combined interruptions approximately 3500 TLC customers in the area were without power at various times.  
 
While assessments are ongoing and subject to confirmation, TLC estimates the cost of damage from the weekend’s storm and snow dump to be in the vicinity of $150,000 - $200,000. 
 
Ends
 
For more information contact:
Anne Beex, Communications Consultant
On behalf of The Lines Company
0275 898 455
 
 

The Lines Company excited to trial new pricing structure

On 1 September 2017 The Lines Company (TLC) launched a trial of the proposed time-of-use (ToU) pricing approach.  In the trial, which is made up of approximately 200 TLC customers, participants get the opportunity to be billed using the proposed ToU method. 
 
Late last year TLC began an independent review of the way in which it charges its customers.  Through this process it was recommended that TLC consider moving to time-of-use pricing.  
 
“We are open to change based on customer feedback and the trial is the next step in this process,” says Chief Executive, Sean Horgan.
 
The proposed new pricing structure would mean that customers are billed on actual consumption each month.  Prices vary depending on the time power is used. Customers’ bills would be made up of a fixed daily charge, a meter charge and three variable charges.  
 
“We have taken on board feedback that our pricing needs to be simple, fair and transparent and we believe ToU achieves this,” says Mr Horgan.  
 
“However a new charging and pricing system doesn’t change the overall cost of running the network, it will just spread the costs differently amongst our customers.  Our region has been dealt a tough hand by the electricity system, the longest electricity network and the fewest customers per kilometre.”
 
The trial is set to run until at least the end of March next year.  
 
“We are satisfied the trial is representative of customers across the network and provides the opportunity for valuable feedback. It’s important to everyone we get this right, so we want to do everything we can to ensure that happens.”
 
The TLC Board will make a decision on ToU pricing later this year, and if approved, customers would see a change in 2018. 
 
Further information, including some frequently asked questions (FAQs), is available on TLC’s website www.thelinescompany.co.nz
 
 
Ends
For more information contact:
Anne Beex, Communications Consultant
On behalf of The Lines Company
0275 898 455
 
 
 
 
 
 
Previous media releases
 
AUGUST 2017
 
14 Aug 2017 - Overnight storm affects power supply to some TLC customers
 
JULY 2017
 
17 Jul 2017 - TLC update on power restoration following last week's storm event
 
13 Jul 2017 - TLC announces positive weekend load control change for customers
 
07 Jul 2017 - TLC confirms Transpower outage at Hangatiki Substation
 
06 Jul 2017 - The Lines Company announces Board refresh
 
2017 Media Releases - January to June
 
2016 Media Releases - January to December

NetworkNews Monthly Columns - 2017

 

 

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