Turangi resident Sandra Greenslade is on a mission to prevent the King Country Electric Power Trust (KCEPT) from doing a deal which, she fears, would see vital community grants dry up.

Last year the Trust's 20 percent share in King Country Energy returned 1.3 million dollars to local organisations and Mrs Greenslade is worried that, in the future, money will not be available.

"There's not going to be the kitty of money available for community groups to access any longer, over a million dollars is just going to disappear out of our communities overnight," she claims.

KCEPT has more than 12 thousand shareholders in the King Country area - everyone who is connected to the local grid.

Under the deal with Trustpower, KCEPT would take ownership of the five smallest power stations in the region, but lose it's current shares in the Mangahao Power station near Palmerston North, which produces the most power.

Advertisement

The retail side of King Country Energy would be merged with Trust Power's operations too.

Mrs Greenslade says "it's terribly important that we don't lose control of those assets that we've got in our community that benefit us on a daily basis." Under the new proposal they will not reap any benefits for at least 5 years.

However the Chairman of KCEPT, Rob Carter, says competition in the sector means a deal is necessary to keep the Trust profitable.

"It's simply a matter of the trust cutting it's cloth to what it can afford and still making money," Mr Carter says.

He says he and the trustees are trying to do what they can for shareholders by retaining something locally and if "we maintain the status quo our income may drop."

He says this deal with Trustpower is just one of five options on the table.

But Mrs Greenslade says Trustpower have left KCEPT with the "bad bits."

"Trustpower are picking their cherries, they're taking Mangahao, which is a 40 megawatt generating station and they're gathering up all the retail customers of King Country Energy and saying thank you very much well take the nice bits and you can all the stuff we don't want."

Trustpower was unable to respond to Local Focus requests for an interview before our publication deadline.

No decision will be made on the future of King Country Energy until submissions have been received.

A series of public meetings are scheduled next month.

Taumarunui: Friday the 17th of March, 7 pm at the Memorial Hall.

Turangi: Tuesday the 21st of March, 7 pm at the Senior Citizens Hall, 83 The Town Centre.

Ohakune: Thursday the 23rd of March, 7 pm at the RDC Chambers.

Made with funding from