Power to the people has come in the form of free electricity after Northpower's annual line holiday to 56,500 customers in Kaipara and Whangarei.
The total rebate is worth $5.48 million and means that since 1998 customers have been given back $110 million of Northpower's profits from renting line to electricity companies. In December, the Northpower Trust (NEPT) distributed $50 to every Northpower consumer.
The 2016 line holiday means all consumers connected to the network at 6am yesterday will get between $35 and $145 off their next power bills. The credits are based on annual energy consumption and broken into three tiers: $145 for people who used more than 15,000 units; $95 for consumers who used between 2000 and 15,000 units; $35 for those who used less than 2000 units.
"It is always pleasing to distribute profits to our consumers despite a challenging environment. We are continuing to work hard to improve our business performance," Northpower chairwoman Nikki Davies-Colley said.
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Since 2006, shareholder value in Northpower has increased from $204.8 million to $252 million, Northpower revenue has grown from $126.2 million to $324.9 million and total asset value is up from $232.6 million to $442.9 million.
Chief executive Mark Gatland said the company was pursuing a number of opportunities this year, including trying to win the next stage of installing fast-fibre networks in a number of Northland towns.
"Meantime, our Whangarei UFB network continues to have the highest uptake of any UFB network in New Zealand and that is immensely satisfying. The Northpower Network is performing exceptionally well and remains one of the most reliable electricity networks in the country, and we are about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Wairua Hydroelectric Power Station at Titoki."
The company is also seeing strong growth in the electric vehicle sector, possibly enabled by Northpower putting in New Zealand's first public fast charger in 2014. Northpower also backs the Northland Rescue Helicopter service which is becoming busier every year.