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Counties Energy appoints new Board Chairperson

Electricity distributor and energy business Counties Energy has appointed Keith Watson as Chairperson of the Board. A director of Counties Energy since 2020, Mr Watson brings a breadth of capabilities gained as a chairperson, company director and managing director, with governance experience in globally and locally listed businesses.

The appointment was made after long-term director and chairperson Vern Dark recently retired from the position. Mr Dark had served as both a director and Chair for 12 years. Mr Watson, who is chair of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, a director of Rakon Limited, Acumen NZ Limited, and former chair of Opus International Consultants, says he feels privileged to take on the position.

“I’m excited to lead a strong Board of Directors at this pivotal time as Counties Energy transitions from a local lines company to a distributed systems operator. This presents many new opportunities in distributed energy resources, while the company maintains focus on delivering a robust, safe and reliable electricity network for the region. This is an exciting time as we reimagine the future of energy with transformational changes underway in how energy is produced and consumed by our customers. The Board is committed to ensuring Counties Energy is at the forefront of this energy revolution.”

“An increasing focus for Counties Energy is lowering emissions and creating smaller carbon footprints through sustainable technologies. Counties Energy’s new energy journey includes a focus on smart grid technologies and customer-focused energy ecosystems such as virtual power plants and community energy schemes that utilise electric vehicle charging, renewable energy and cutting-edge digital technologies.”

Mr Watson has worked across all major geographic markets – USA, Canada and Latin America, Asia Pacific and Central Europe. His former executive positions include senior vice president roles at Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics in the United States.

About Counties Energy

Counties Energy is a multi-market energy services company in New Zealand. Its core business is in providing electricity distribution network services in the southern Auckland and northern Waikato regions, which it has done for nearly 100 years. As a 100% consumer owned company, all shares in the company are held by the Counties Energy Trust on behalf of all local power consumers. Counties Energy receives power from the national grid at Bombay and Glenbrook and transports it to locally via substations and an extensive network of lines, cables, transformers and other equipment. They have a total asset base of $577m and revenue of $171m. Counties Energy has a portfolio of investments in innovative energy solutions that contribute towards Aotearoa New Zealand’s decarbonisation goals and has developed an end-to-end e-mobility software platform and related mobile app – OpenLoop.

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