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Powerco Limited
PredecessorTaranaki Energy Limited
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Area served
39,000 sq km[1]
ServicesElectricity distribution
Natural gas distribution
OwnersQueensland Investment Corporation (58%)
AMP Limited (42%)
Number of employees
330 full-time equivalent

Powerco is the second-largest gas and largest electricity distributor in New Zealand. It is one of only two companies to distribute both electricity and natural gas through their network (the other being Vector Limited).[1] Its network delivers electricity and gas to households around the North Island from the national electricity transmission network Transpower and the natural gas transmission system owned and operated by Vector Limited.

Powerco arose from the energy reforms in New Zealand in the 1990s. It can trace its history back to a number of local power boards and gas companies that operated throughout the North Island. The company is 58% owned by Queensland Investment Corporation and 42% owned by AMP Limited.[2]


The New Zealand electricity reforms of the 1980s split the electricity industry broadly into four sections - generators, transmitters, distributors and retailers. Six main generator businesses (Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Mercury Energy, Meridian Energy, Trustpower and Nova Energy) generate electricity and supply it to New Zealand's national grid, operated by Transpower. Transpower transmits high-voltage electricity to grid exit points (or substations) around New Zealand for transmission to households and businesses. The local distribution network (mostly consisting of underground wires and/or overhead wires) that transmit electricity to end-users like households and businesses are owned and operated by local distribution companies, mostly regionally based.[3]

Powerco is a distributor whose business is completely separate from generation, national transmission and retail (selling delivered electricity to end-users). It operates a 30,000 km local electricity distribution network supplying 320,000 households, industries and businesses from Transpower's national grid and a 6,000 km natural gas distribution network supplying 102,000 households, industries and businesses from Vector's transmission system.

Its electricity network currently supplies the following regions:

  • Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty District
  • Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and South Waikato Districts
  • Taranaki Region
  • Wanganui and Rangitikei Districts
  • Palmerston North City and Manawatu District
  • Southern Tararua District (south of and including Mangatainoka)
  • Wairarapa

Powerco's natural gas distribution network covers:

Key dates[edit]

  • April 1993 - New Plymouth Energy (the electricity division of the New Plymouth District Council) merges with Taranaki Electricity (former Taranaki Electric Power Board) to become Taranaki Energy Limited.[5]
  • 1994 - Taranaki Energy acquired the Hawera Gas Company.[5]
  • October 1995 - Taranaki Energy Limited merges with Wanganui-based Powerco (the former Wanganui Electric Power Board) to become PowerCo Limited.[5]
  • September 1997 - Powerco acquires Hawera based Egmont Electricity.[5]
  • April 1998 - Government pass Electricity Industry Reform Act. PowerCo decided to become a "network business" (or lines company), and the following changes are made:
    • Electricity Retail Business (customer base) sold to Genesis Power
    • Gas Retail Business sold to Natural Gas Corporation
    • Natural Gas Corporation's Taranaki gas networks sold to Powerco
    • Powerco's five hydro power stations sold to TrustPower
    • Powerco purchases Wairarapa Electricity's network business (formerly part of the Wairarapa Electric Power Board)
  • August 2000 - Powerco merged with CentralPower (itself formed by the merger of CentralPower (for former Manawatu-Oroua Power Board) and ElectroPower, the former electricity division of Palmerston North City Council).[5]
  • June 2001 - Powerco purchases the Hutt Valley and Porirua gas networks from AGL.[6]
  • February 2002 - Powerco purchases the Electricity Assets of United Networks Limited in Tauranga, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Thames and Coromandel, plus gas networks in Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.[7]
  • 2004 - Powerco purchased Siemens Energy Services' Tauranga based contracting division
  • November 2005 - Powerco sold its New Zealand field services contracting business to Tenix Alliance
  • 2008 - Divestment of Powerco Australia Group (Tasmania gas distribution) to Babcock & Brown Infrastructure

Electricity network statistics[edit]

Powerco electricity network statistics as of 31 March 2018[8]
Parameter Value
Total network Eastern network
(Tauranga, Coromandel and South Waikato)
Western network
(Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa)
Total circuit length 27,833 km 10,568 km 17,547 km
66 kV 169 km 169 km
33 kV 1,509 km 475 km 1,034 km
22 kV 122 km 122 km
6.6/11 kV 16,657 km 5,961 km 10,695 km
Single wire earth return (SWER) 79 km 61 km 17 km
Low voltage (230/400 V) 9,579 km 3,902 km 5,678 km
Street lighting 2,931 km 1,576 km 1,355 km
Customer connections 337,135 158,030 179,071
System maximum demand 897 MW 466 MW 433 MW
System electricity delivered 5,099 GWh 2,701 GWh 2,398 GWh

Natural gas network statistics[edit]

Powerco electricity network statistics as of 30 September 2017[9]
Parameter Value
Total network Hawke's Bay, Taranaki & Manawatu Wellington metro
Total pipeline length 5,941 km 3,154 km 2,753 km
Intermediate pressure (700–2000 kPa) 277 km 109 km 168 km
Medium pressure (7–700 kPa) 5,615 km 3,035 km 2,580 km
Low pressure (<7 kPa) 49 km 10 km 38 km
Customer connections 106,776 44,734 62,042
System maximum demand 45.00 TJ/day 21.86 TJ/day 23.14 TJ/day
System gas delivered 8,786 TJ 4,993 TJ 3,793 TJ


  1. ^ a b "Our Business". Powerco. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Our People". Powerco. 14 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Our Business: New Zealand's Electricity Market". Powerco. 14 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Our Business: Our Networks". Powerco. 14 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e https://web.archive.org/web/20010511053541/http://www.powerco.co.nz/about/story.htm
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20030227164137/http://www.powerco.co.nz/0,2480,FF.htm
  7. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20030413170629/http://www.powerco.co.nz/0,3070,FF.htm
  8. ^ "EDB Information Disclosure - Powerco Limited - year ending 31 March 2018" (PDF). 31 August 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  9. ^ "GDB Information Disclosure - Powerco Limited - year ending 30 September 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 7 October 2018.

External links[edit]