Mercury Energy

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Mercury
TypePublic
NZX: MCY
ASXMCY
IndustryElectric power generation
PredecessorECNZ, Mighty River Power
Founded1 April 1999 (1999-04-01)
Headquarters,
Key people
Vince Hawksworth (CEO)
ProductsElectric power
ServicesElectricity retailing
RevenueIncrease NZ$2,188M (2022)[1]
Increase NZ$581M (2022)[1]
Increase NZ$469M (2022)[1]
Total assetsIncrease NZ$9,660M (2022)[1]
Total equityIncrease NZ$4,752M (2022)[1]
OwnerNew Zealand Government (51.15%)
Number of employees
1335[1]
SubsidiariesGLOBUG (prepay power)
Websitewww.mercury.co.nz

Mercury NZ Limited is a New Zealand electricity generation and multi-product utility retailer of electricity, gas, broadband and mobile telephone services. All the company's electricity generation is renewable.

In August 2021, Mercury acquired five operating wind farms and several wind farm development options from Tilt Renewables.[2] At the same time, the first power from the newly built wind farm at Turitea was generated[3] – adding to the existing portfolio of nine hydro stations[4] on the Waikato River and five geothermal plants[5] located in the central North Island.

In the year ended June 2021, Mercury had generated 3,611GWh of electricity through hydro generation and 2,594GWh through geothermal generation.[6]

In May 2022, Mercury acquired the retail business of Trustpower, including the retail customer base and Trustpower brand.[7] The generation business of Trustpower changed its name to Manawa Energy Limited.

In June 2022, Mercury launched fibre broadband as a retail product to be bundled for its residential electricity customers.[8]

Mercury's retail operations serve residential and small to medium business customers through its Mercury and Trustpower brands. It sells electricity, gas and broadband through Mercury and electricity, gas, LPG, broadband and mobile telephone services through Trustpower. Mercury has a pre-paid electricity product sub-brand GLOBUG.

Mercury also service industrial and wholesale market customers offering electricity and natural gas products.

Mercury has offices in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupō, Palmerston North, Wellington and Oamaru.

History[edit]

In the 1980s, the New Zealand Electricity Department (NZED) (a government department) controlled and operated almost all New Zealand electricity generation and operated the electricity transmission grid. The first phase of deregulation saw the New Zealand Government corporatisze the NZED and form the state-owned enterprise Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ).

In 1994 Mercury NZ Limited was formed by the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust to own and operate the electricity supply business previously operated by the community-owned local authority, Auckland Electric Power Board (AEPB).

Also in 1994, Transpower New Zealand was separated from ECNZ and created as a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) to own and operate the national grid.

In 1996, ECNZ split into two SOEs, ECNZ and Contact Energy.

Logo of the former Mighty River Power

In 1998, law changes obligated AEPB to sell the electricity retailing and generation part of the business.

On 1 April 1999, ECNZ was split into three – Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power. Mercury's electricity retailing division was sold to Mighty River Power, who continued the trading name Mercury Energy. The electricity distribution business Mercury Energy Limited changed its name to Vector Limited and continued the distribution and transmission operation.

Mighty River Power took over the ownership and operation of the nine hydroelectric power stations on the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, and inherited assets of two largely decommissioned oil-fired power stations at Marsden Point, near Whangārei and its share in the Southdown Power Station (in conjunction with the Natural Gas Corporation).

In 2000, Mighty River Power acquired the Rotokawa geothermal power station, to operate and maintain the station, and own the geothermal turbines in a joint venture with the Tauhara North No.2 Trust. Also, that year, Mighty River Power commissioned the Mōkai geothermal power station geothermal power station in a joint venture with the Tuaropaki Trust.

In September 2002, Mighty River Power gained 100 percent ownership of the Southdown power station.

In 2004, Mighty River Power announced plans to refurbish the Marsden B plant to fire it on coal to increase supply security north of Auckland. Marsden B had been mothballed since it was completed in 1978 due to rising oil prices following the 1973 oil crisis and there being cheaper alternatives available. Greenpeace staged a nine-day occupation of the site in 2005, and after the Northland Regional Council granted consent, appealed to both the Environment Court and High Court, eventually overturning the consent. Mighty River Power appealed the High Court decision to the Court of Appeal, but in March 2007 dropped the proposal.

In 2008, Mighty River Power increased its generating capacity by opening the 100 MW Kawerau geothermal power station, increasing supply security to the eastern Bay of Plenty, a large timber processing area. In 2010, it opened the 140 MW Nga Awa Purua geothermal station near Taupō with the largest single-shaft geothermal turbine in the world. The commissioning of Nga Awa Purua increased Mighty River's geothermal capacity to 385 MW making it the nation's largest geothermal electricity generator with 52.7 percent of all installed geothermal capacity.

In 2009, Mighty River Power sold the Marsden B plant for $20 million to an Indian company, United Telecom.[9] Resource consents for dismantling the plant were granted in June 2011, and the 20,000 tonnes of plant and equipment was dismantled later in 2011.

In Dec 2011, the National Government announced plans to reduce its shareholding in the four state-owned energy companies, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power (Mercury) from 100 percent to 51 percent and to sell off the remaining 49 percent as part of its controversial "mixed-ownership model" plan. Mighty River Power was to be the first company to be partially sold in September 2012, pursuant to legislative changes and market conditions.[10] However, threatened legal action and unfavourable market conditions saw the Government delay any sale until March 2013 at the earliest.[11]

On 5 March 2012, the Government began taking registrations of interest from the public in Mighty River Power shares.[12] More than 35,000 people tried to register in the first six hours causing the registration website to crash for much of the day.[13] By midnight, more than 90,000 people had registered.[14]

In April 2013, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall, in anticipation of the sale, said director fees would be increasing from $49,000 a year to $85,000, and the chair's fees from $98,000 to $150,000, despite still being majority-owned by taxpayers.

On 2 April 2013, The Financial Markets Authority approved the sale of Mighty River Power with the IPO (Initial Public Offering) on 15 April. However, the IPO was temporarily suspended on 22 April while a supplementary disclosure was issued, after the Labour and Green parties in opposition announced plans to reform the electricity market if elected to government at the 2014 election. At the close of the IPO on 5 May, there were 113,000 shareholders, and on 8 May the opening share price was set at $2.50, raising $1.7 billion. The Government was slightly disappointed, blaming the Labour-Green policy for putting off many more potential shareholders, with the Finance Minister indicating before the policy was announced that the price would be in the $2.70 to $2.80 range[15] The government retained 51.78 percent of the shareholding, with another 1.02 percent owned by other Crown interests (mainly the New Zealand Superannuation Fund).[16]

By September, shares had slumped to $2.16, well below the float price[17] and in October the company announced it would be buying back up to $50 million in shares.[18]

Logo of the former Mercury Energy

In December 2015, the gas fired Southdown Power Station, a 170 MW combined cycle power station in south Auckland was closed.

On 29 July 2016, after merging its retail and generation businesses the company changed its name to Mercury NZ Limited.[19] The company also launched a new brand logo, moving from the Roman god Mercury, to a bee. Market research showed New Zealand had a stronger connection to the bee as a symbol.[20]

In August 2021, Mercury acquired five operating wind farms and several wind farm development options.[21] At the same time, the first power from the newly built wind farm at Turitea was generated.[22]

In May 2022, Mercury acquired the retail business of Trustpower,[23] including the retail customer base and Trustpower brand. The generation business of Trustpower changed its name to Manawa Energy Limited.

Power stations[edit]

Mercury operates 17 generation sites; 8 Hydroelectric Powerstations, 5 Geothermal, and 4 Wind Farms.

In total, the company has 1884 MW of generating capacity – 1076 MW hydroelectric, 478 MW geothermal and 330 MW wind.

Name Type Location Capacity
(MW)
Annual generation
(average GWh)[24]
Commissioned Notes
Arapuni Hydroelectric Waikato River 192 867 1946
Aratiatia Hydroelectric Waikato River 78 335 1964
Ātiamuri Hydroelectric Waikato River 74 294 1962
Karāpiro Hydroelectric Waikato River 96 505 1948
Kawerau Geothermal Kawerau, Bay of Plenty 106 848 2008
Mahinerangi Wind Farm Wind Otago 36 101 2011 Acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Maraetai Hydroelectric Waikato River 352 878 1954, 1971
Mōkai Geothermal North-west of Taupō 112 890 2000 Joint venture with Tuaropaki Trust
Ngā Awa Pūrua Geothermal North of Taupō 139 1140 2010 Joint venture with Tauhara North No.2 Trust
World's largest geothermal turbine (147 MW rated)
Ngā Tamariki Geothermal North of Taupō 85 705 2013
Ōhakuri Hydroelectric Waikato River 106 405 1962
Rotokawa Geothermal North of Taupō 33 270 1997 Joint venture with Tauhara North No.2 Trust
Tararua Wind Farm I & II Wind Tararua Ranges 68 245 Stage 1: 1991 Stage 2: 2004 Tararua is currently NZ's largest wind farm. Acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Tararua Wind Farm III Wind Tararua Ranges 93 318 2007 Tararua is currently NZ's largest wind farm. Acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Waipipi Wind Farm Wind South Taranaki 133 455 2021 Acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Waipāpa Hydroelectric Waikato River 54 238 1961
Whakamaru Hydroelectric Waikato River 124 497 1956

Generation developments[edit]

Name Type Location Planned
capacity (MW)
Status
Puketoi Wind Puketoi Ranges Consent application lodged August 2011,[25] granted June 2012[26]
Turitea Wind South-east of Palmerston North 220 Under construction due to be completed late 2021
Tararua I & II repowering Wind Manawatu 140 vs 68 existing Development option acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021[27]
Kaiwaikawe Wind Northland 70 Development option acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Mahinerangi II Wind Otago 160 Development option acquired from Tilt Renewables August 2021
Kaiwera Downs Wind Southland Stage 1 43; Stage 2 to bring total to 240 Stage 1 scheduled to commence Oct 2022[28]

Subsidiaries[edit]

In addition to its generation assets, Mercury also incorporates or has major shareholdings in:

  • GLOBUG, a pre-pay electricity retailer

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2022". Mercury Energy. 16 August 2022.
  2. ^ "News Release Mercury acquires Tilt Renewables' New Zealand operations". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  3. ^ "News Release – first power produced at Turitea Wind Farm". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Hydro Generation". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Geothermal". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  6. ^ "2021 Annual Report". Mercury. Mercury NZ. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  7. ^ "News Release Mercury's acquisition of Trustpower's retail business now unconditional". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  8. ^ "News Reelease Mercury launches unlimited fibre broadband offers". Mercury. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Marsden B plant set to be shipped to India after $20m sale". The Northern Advocate. Retrieved 1 October 2022 – via nzherald.co.nz.
  10. ^ "Mighty River Power first SOE to go". The New Zealand Herald. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  11. ^ Tracy, Watkins (3 September 2012). "Sale of Mighty River Power delayed". Stuff. Dominion Post. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  12. ^ Grant, Bradley (4 March 2013). "Market may take a hit as Mighty River sale attracts 'huge interest". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Mighty River share site crashes". The New Zealand Herald. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  14. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (6 March 2013). "Mighty River share registration high". Stuff. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Mighty River $2.50 price hit by power policy". The New Zealand Herald. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  16. ^ Parker, Tamsyn (17 May 2013). "Stock Takes: Mighty nervous". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Mighty River Power pair snap up shares".
  18. ^ "Mighty River Power to buy back shares".
  19. ^ "Mercury inspired by new energy future". Mercury.
  20. ^ Venuto, Damien (29 July 2016). "Mercury buzzes in with new look, champions renewable energy". StopPress. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Mercury acquires Tilt Renewables' New Zealand opertaions". Mercury. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  22. ^ "First power produced at Turitea Wind Farm". Mercury. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Mercury's acquisition of Trustpower's retail business now unconditional". Mercury. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Operating Statistics – Mercury NZ". Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Mighty River Power lodges application for wind development at Puketoi" (Press release). Mighty River Power. 3 August 2011. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  26. ^ "Mighty River gains consents for Puketoi wind farm" (Press release). Mighty River Power. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Mercury (ASX:MCY) acquires Tilt Renewables' NZ operations". Finance News Network.
  28. ^ "Construction on new wind farm near Gore will begin in October". Stuff.
  29. ^ "Starship Children's Health | Supporting Our Community | Mercury".

External links[edit]