|Traded as||NZX: CEN|
Natural gas wholesaling
Natural gas retailing
|Headquarters||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Ralph Norris, Chair
Dennis Barnes, Chief Executive
Number of employees
The company is the second-largest electricity generator in New Zealand (after Meridian Energy), generating 23% of all electricity in 2014, and has the second-largest market share (22%) of electricity retailers (after Genesis Energy). Contact owns and operates twelve power stations in New Zealand with a generation portfolio made up of geothermal, hydro and natural gas assets. Contact Energy's power stations consist of five gas turbine facilities, in Auckland, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki; five geothermal stations north of Taupo; and two hydroelectric dams on the Clutha River.
Contact was incorporated on 8 November 1995 and became a state owned enterprise on 18 November 1995. Contact commenced operations on 1 February 1996, acquiring assets from ECNZ with a payment of $1.6 billion. As the founding chief executive, Paul Anthony was instrumental in establishing the corporation distinct from ECNZ.
In 1999, the company was sold, with 40% purchased by Edison Mission Energy (EME) as cornerstone shareholder for $5 per share. The remaining 60% was sold in a public offering of shares for $3.10 per share. EME subsequently increased its shareholding to 51%.
As part of the 1999 electricity sector reforms, local electricity companies were split into lines and retail, with most selling the retail part off. Contact Energy acquired the retail bases of Top Energy, Counties Power, Eastland Network (Gisborne area), Unison (Hawke's Bay area), Electra, Network Tasman, MainPower, Alpine Energy, Aurora Energy (Dunedin area), The Power Company and Electricity Invercargill.
Following financial difficulties elsewhere in its business, EME sold its shareholding to Origin Energy in 2004.
During the 2008 financial crisis, Contact decided to increase prices by up to 12% while doubling its directors' fees. As a result, it lost more than 40,000 customers in six months − 10% of the total. Its profit was halved. Contact calls this the worst blow to its reputation in the company's history.
Following financial difficulties elsewhere in its business, Origin sold its 53% shareholding to the market in 2015.
Contact owns and operates (unless otherwise stated) the following power stations:
|New Zealand stations|
|Ohaaki||Geothermal||Flash steam||Ohaaki, Waikato||70||300||1989|
|Poihipi||Geothermal||Flash steam||Wairakei, Waikato||55||350||1996|
|Stratford||Gas||Open-cycle / Combined-cycle turbine||Stratford, Taranaki||585||3350||1998, 2010|
|Te Huka||Geothermal||Binary cycle||Taupo||23||2010|
|Te Mihi||Geothermal||Flash steam||north of Taupo||159||2014|
|Te Rapa||Gas||Open-cycle turbine
|Te Rapa, Waikato||44||200||2000|
|Wairakei||Geothermal||Flash steam / Binary cycle||Wairakei, Waikato||161||1310||1958, 2005|
|Whirinaki||Diesel||Open-cycle turbine||Whirinaki, Hawke's Bay||155||9||2004|
|Otahuhu A||Gas||Open-cycle turbine||Otahuhu, Auckland||1968||various|
|Otahuhu B||Gas||Combined-cycle turbine||Otahuhu, Auckland||380||2380||2000|
In 2001, Contact decommissioned the FT4 twinpac open cycle power stations on the Stratford and Whirinaki sites, and sold the generating equipment offshore.
|Hawea||Hydro||Lake Hawea, Otago||17||Consents granted||Expect complete by 2017|
|Tauhara stage 2||Geothermal||near Taupo||250||Consents granted|
|Waitahora||Wind||Puketoi Ranges, east of Palmerston North||156||Consents granted|
In 2006, Contact and Genesis Energy set up a joint venture project called Gasbridge to import LNG. Their proposed terminal at Port Taranaki was highly controversial, and the plan was shelved in favour of an offshore terminal plan in mid 2009.
In 2012, Contact announced it would not proceed with hydro developments on the Clutha River, at Queensbury, Luggate, Tuapeka and Beaumont.
In June 2013, the Taheke joint venture (Taheke 8C Incorporated and Contact Energy) made the decision to delay the development of the Taheke Geothermal field due to market conditions.
In August 2013, Contact announced its decision to exit the Hauāurumā raki wind generation development on the Waikato coast and that they would not proceed in the foreseeable future with the Waitahora wind generation development project near Dannevirke in the Tararua district.
- "2015 Annual Report" (PDF). Contact Energy. 17 August 2015.
- "Energy in New Zealand". Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. August 2015.
- "Power Stations". Contact Energy. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "Cocoon". iHeartRadio. New Zealand Media and Entertainment. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Annual Report 1996 (PDF). Contact Energy. 11 December 1996.
- Newberry, Sue (April 2005). "Electricity Reforms and Contact Energy Ltd". Converge.
- Bradley, Grant (15 August 2009). "Director-fee fallout hurts Contact". NZ Herald.
- "The Market Teaches Contact A Lesson After Director’s Fees Fiasco". NZ Energy & Environment Business Week. 29 April 2009.
- "Origin Energy sale of Contact completed" (PDF) (Press release). Contact Energy. 5 August 2015.
- Rilkoff, Matt (14 June 2013). "Land purchase powers port's big plans". Taranaki Daily news.
- Ibbotson, Lucy (6 January 2012). "Contact vies for more time to establish hydro scheme". Otago Daily Times.
- "Contact Energy Announces Sale Of Valley Power Stake" (Press release). 31 August 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "Gasbridge - Preserving New Zealand's future energy options" (PDF). Gasbridge. 4 October 2006.
- "Port LNG proposal off table". Taranaki Daily News. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- "Contact Energy opens $400 million development in Taranaki" (Press release). Contact Energy. 31 May 2011.
- "Contact not proceeding with Clutha Development" (PDF) (Press release). Contact Energy. 1 May 2012.