Counties Energy advises customers of upcoming price increase
Lines company Counties Energy will increase their component of local power customer’s electricity bill. This will result in an average electricity charge increase to power users of 2.2 percent from 1 April 2022.
The increase, which equates to around 16 cents per day or around $4.92 per month, is to recover a widespread increase in operational and materials costs across the business which also reflects the current wider environment faced by construction and infrastructure businesses across the country. The company has incurred increasing costs over a range of key materials including transformers which have increased by 23 percent last year while cabling costs increased by 12 percent. In conjunction with this, Transpower’s transmission charges increased as a result of an increase in Counties Energy’s peak transmission demand.
Counties Energy Chief Executive Judy Nicholl says the increase is necessary as cost increases are compounded by accelerated residential and commercial subdivision developments which require the rapid construction of new high voltage infrastructure including substations, transmission lines and distribution feeders, to meet electricity demand in the fast-growing region.
“As a 100 percent customer-owned company our purpose is to deliver safe and reliable electricity to our region, cost effectively and in the best interests of our customers, who are our shareholders, while also improving network reliability and investing in new infrastructure to future-proof it for generations to come. We strive to keep our proportion of the price you pay for electricity as low as possible, while also ensuring we have the resources to continue a solid network investment and asset renewal programme.
“Unfortunately, our material price inflation is far higher than government inflation of five percent and this is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, especially with the supply chain issues we’re experiencing as a country, along with salary and wage increases. In keeping with this environment, we’ve also experienced increased Transpower transmission costs and local council rates. In addition, our information technology costs have increased as we invest in a new SCADA system that will improve network reliability while being designed for the future demands created by electric vehicles and solar arrays.”
Another contributing factor to the company’s increased costs is its focus on its digital utility transformation programme. This includes the necessity to increase investment in critical cyber security and innovations such as an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) to enable smarter, sustainable, and innovative energy services and solutions that deliver better customer experiences, operational efficiencies, and the ability to manage growth intelligently, ultimately shaping a future-proofed energy platform.
Counties Energy, situated in one of the fastest growing regions in the country, is planning to invest $439 million over the next 10-years to meet increasing customer growth, replace end-of-life assets and to improve network reliability.
Counties Energy is the electricity distribution provider for the network that runs from coast to coast between southern Papakura and Mercer, and west of the Waikato River from Mercer to Waikaretu. The company is 100 percent owned by Counties Energy Trust who holds the shares on behalf of electricity customers.