News and Updates

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Check out the latest news and updates below.

Check out the latest news and updates below.

  • Key issues paper available for Commerce Commission’s assessment of Aurora Energy’s investment plan

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    30 Jul 2020

    30 July 2020

    The Commerce Commission has released its consultation paper on the key issues it has identified during its initial assessment of Aurora Energy’s plan to make its electricity network safer and maintain reliability.

    The paper covers a range of issues the Commission wants feedback on including:

    • Options for minimising consumer price shocks
    • The length of the investment period
    • Consumer preferences on the communication, timing and management of planned and unplanned power cuts while Aurora Energy works to fix its network
    • Consumer and stakeholder confidence in Aurora Energy’s ability to deliver on its plan to time, budget and to a high quality, including how Aurora Energy should be held to account for completing the work
    • Whether the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer feedback on Aurora Energy’s proposal and how the Commission should account for growth and demand uncertainty caused by the pandemic
    • Ensuring Aurora Energy’s proposed spending is cost effective in areas like safety improvements, tree trimming, staffing and business costs and that it is targeting the right equipment for replacement at the right time.


    Feedback on the Commission's key issues paper will help to shape the Commission's draft decision which it expects to release in November for consultation.

    The issues paper, including a consumer summary and submission form, along with more information on the project can be found at www.comcom.govt.nz/aurora. Feedback can also be provided to the Commission by email to feedbackauroraplan@comcom.govt.nz. Consultation closes on 20 August 2020.

  • Upcoming Commerce Commission public drop-in sessions

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    21 Jul 2020

    21 July 2020

    In early August the Commerce Commission will be holding public drop-in sessions in Dunedin, Alexandra, Cromwell, Wanaka and Queenstown. Hard copies of the Commission's key issues consultation paper (to be released publicly on 30 July) and submission forms will be available for you to take away and Commission staff will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

    Dunedin

    Thursday 6 August 2020, 3-6:30pm, The Dunedin Centre, Conference Room 2, 1 Harrop Street

    Alexandra

    Monday 10 August 2020, 3-6:30pm,Alexandra Community Centre, 15 Skird Street

    Cromwell

    Tuesday 11 August 2020, 3-6:30pm, Cromwell and Districts Presbyterian Church, Lowburn Room, 10 Elspeth Street

    Wanaka

    Wednesday 12 August 2020, 3-6:30pm, Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore Street

    Queenstown

    Thursday 13 August 2020, 3-6:30pm, St Andrews Presbyterian Hall, 26 Stanley Street

    Visit the Commission’s website www.comcom.govt.nz/aurora for more information on its review and consultation process.

  • What's changed since consultation?

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    19 Jun 2020
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    12 June 2020

    We made our formal application for a customised price-quality path (CPP) to the Commerce Commission today. We have prepared a summary of what’s changed from our draft proposal for consultation to reflect feedback from customers and the community, independent verification and to respond to the expected impacts of Covid-19.

    You will have a further opportunity for feedback during the Commerce Commission's own consultation in 2020. For more information about Aurora Energy’s CPP proposal for future investment and the CPP application submitted today, please visit Our CPP Application section of this website. Register here for future updates, or keep an eye on the News and Updates section of this website.

  • Our CPP Application video

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    19 Jun 2020
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    12 June 2020

    We made our formal application for a customised price-quality path (CPP) to the Commerce Commission today. Head over to our videos page to watch a video where Aurora Energy chief executive Richard Fletcher answers questions about our CPP Application and how we have taken your feedback into consideration in our revised proposal.

    You will have a further opportunity for feedback during the Commerce Commission's own consultation in 2020. For more information about Aurora Energy’s CPP proposal for future investment and the CPP application submitted today, please visit Our CPP Application section on this website. Register here for future updates, or keep an eye on the News and Updates section of this website.

  • Aurora Energy makes CPP application to the Commerce Commission for review

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    12 Jun 2020
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    12 June 2020

    Aurora Energy today made its formal application for a customised price-quality path (CPP) to the Commerce Commission. The application follows Aurora Energy’s draft proposal for public consultation released in November last year.

    The revised proposal has retained only what is absolutely necessary for safety, reliability and to connect new customers. Any additional spending has been removed, reducing the total three-year spend by $20.4 million from $404 million to $383 million and lowering the overall customer price increases from an 18% to a 13% increase on the total estimated power bill.

    Our revised CPP proposal will still…

    • Deliver a safe network and address renewal backlogs
    • Keep pace with emerging risks of an ageing network
    • Improve the health and condition of critical network assets
    • Stabilise reliability at current levels
    • Continue to support the level of expected growth in demand
    • Prepare the network in readiness for future technology uptake.

    But our plan has been moderated in several areas…

    • Removed any spending not urgently required for safety, capacity and to connect new customers
    • Reduced total three-year spend by $20.4 million from $404 million to $383 million
    • Lowered overall customer price increases from an 18% to a 13% increase on the total estimated power bill
    • Smoothed the introduction of new prices over three years to reduce the overall impact
    • Deferred non-critical renewal and growth projects as recommended by the independent verifier
    • Removed or deferred selected growth-related projects and network reinforcement in line with expected lower forecast demand resulting from Covid-19 impacts.


    The Commission will review our application and ultimately determine final expenditure and revenue allowances and reliability standards. The Commission’s final decision is expected in March 2021.

    Aurora Energy Chief Executive Dr Richard Fletcher said, “Our revised CPP proposal details a three-year programme to continue essential investments, maintenance and upgrades to improve the safety, reliability and resilience of the electricity networks that supply Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes.

    “The proposal we submitted today has been revised to reflect customers’ preferences, incorporate feedback from the independent verifier and to respond to the expected impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “We thank the many customers and community organisations for their time and generosity in contributing their views on our future investment plans. Their feedback has shaped our final proposal and given us better insight into what was important to customers and what they expect from their electricity supply.

    “Getting the right balance between the cost to customers and the urgent need to improve the condition of network assets is very challenging. Either we increase prices to make the necessary investment or we maintain current prices and the safety and reliability of the network gets worse.

    “Customers told us they wanted essential work to be done, but that the pricing was a real concern. We have kept safety and affordability at the forefront when refining the draft proposal to keep the proposed price increase as low as possible without compromising essential safety work. We have removed any additional spending and only retained what is absolutely necessary for safety, reliability and to connect new customers.

    “Customers told us they were satisfied with the current reliability of their electricity service. Accordingly, our plan will stabilise unplanned reliability at current levels and we have asked that reliability limits reflect that. Under our proposed plan, we forecast planned reliability remaining at similar levels to the past three years’ average as we continue high levels of renewal and maintenance on the network.

    “We understand that price rises required to fund this work will be difficult for some customers and we have made every effort to reduce the overall proposal and look for ways to offset the pricing, including exploring an energy assistance programme. However, the alternative to raising prices is a continued deterioration in the safety and the reliability of the networks that power our communities.

    “The final decisions on the scale of the investment and related revenue and reliability standards will be determined by the Commission, following customer feedback and, potentially, further refinements by Aurora Energy, in March 2021. Any customer price increases would take effect from 1 April 2021. Background on Aurora Energy’s CPP and more information on the Commission’s review and consultation process can be found on its website www.comcom.govt.nz/aurora.”

    For more information about Aurora Energy’s CPP proposal for future investment and the CPP application submitted today, please visit yoursay.auroraenergy.co.nz.

    Customised price-quality path (CPP) The Commerce Commission can set a customised price-quality path to better suit the needs of a regulated electricity business and its consumers. On 12 June 2020, Aurora Energy applied for a three-year customised price-quality path to take effect from 1 April 2021. As part of the regulatory process, the Commission will review our application and consult further with interested parties before making its final decisions on Aurora Energy’s revenue and reliability limits.

    Customer consultation. From November 2019 to January 2020 Aurora Energy consulted its customers and the community on its future investment plans outlined in the consultation document, Your Network, Your Say. All the feedback we received is summarised in the Consultation Report accompanying the application. Consultation was wide-ranging and included:

    • Consultation website that was visited more than 4,400 times with online submission and feedback tools
    • Customer Voice Panels in Dunedin, Cromwell and Queenstown and a Customer Advisory Panel of consumer and community representatives that published an independent report on our draft proposal
    • Meetings with representatives of electricity retailers, local councils, major customers and stakeholder groups such as Age Concern, Cosy Homes Trust, Presbyterian Support Otago, Federated Farmers, Major Electricity Users’ Group, Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand and regional Chambers of Commerce
    • Formal customer research, before and during consultation, with a representative sample of more than 3,700 residential and business customers across our network regions to establish service preferences in relation to price paid
    • Print advertising in community and regional newspapers with a circulation of 110,000
    • Social media posts and advertising with a total reach of 125,000 and videos watched 4,185 times
    • Publication of consultation document Your Network, Your Say available at community locations and online that was downloaded from the website 539 times
    • There were 93 submissions received on our draft proposal.

    Who is Aurora Energy? Aurora Energy is New Zealand’s seventh largest electricity network by customer connections, supplying electricity to 90,000 homes, farms and businesses in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. Aurora Energy Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, owned by the Dunedin City Council. www.auroraenergy.co.nz





  • Consultation summary video

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    03 Jun 2020
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    2 June 2020

    We asked our customers and the community for their views on our future investment plans. Head over to our videos page to watch video summarising what you told us.

    Thanks for participating in our consultation and sharing your views. We have taken your feedback into consideration as we finalised our application for review by the sector regulator, the Commerce Commission.

    You will have a further opportunity for feedback when the Commerce Commission holds its own consultation in late 2020.

    Register here for future updates, or keep an eye on the News and Updates section of this website.

  • Your Network, Your Say consultation summary available

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    06 Mar 2020
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    6 March 2020

    From November 2019 to January 2020 Aurora Energy consulted its customers and the community on its future investment plans for the three years 2022-2024 outlined in the consultation document, Your Network, Your Say.

    We have prepared a top-level summary of our public consultation that covers the key themes around what people told us, who participated and what happens next in the consultation process. The consultation summary is available on the Your Network, Your Say website here.

    We are currently considering all the feedback we received as we refine our draft customised price-quality path or CPP proposal for submission to the Commerce Commission in June this year. A consultation report, with a detailed summary of customer feedback will be part of our application to the Commerce Commission and publicly available.

    There will be further opportunity for feedback when the Commerce Commission holds its own consultation during the period July - December 2020. More information is available on the consultation website.

  • Consultation now closed

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    27 Jan 2020

    27 January 2020

    Consultation has now closed on Aurora Energy’s draft proposal for future network investment in the years 2022-2024.

    Thank you to those who provided us with valuable feedback. Over the past few months we have had conversations with the community and received your submissions and comments on what we are planning.

    We’ll consider all your feedback as we refine our draft proposal.

    What’s next?

    Between now and April 2020, we will review our draft proposal based on your feedback and the feedback from the Commerce Commission’s independent verifier.

    We will finalise our proposal and apply for a customised price-quality path to the Commerce Commission in June 2020.

    A summary of all the feedback we received during consultation, and how we responded to the issues raised, will be included in our final application to the Commerce Commission and will be publicly available.

    There will be further opportunity for feedback when the Commerce Commission holds its own consultation during the period July - December 2020.

    Register here for future updates, or keep an eye on the Updates section of this website https://yoursay.auroraenergy.co.nz/news-and-updates.

  • Customer Advisory Panel provides its report on Aurora Energy’s future investment plans

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    24 Jan 2020

    24 January 2020

    Aurora Energy’s Customer Advisory Panel has provided its response to the local electricity network’s proposed future investment plans. The Panel’s independent report is their response to Aurora Energy’s consultation document released in November 2019.

    The Customer Advisory Panel was established in June last year to advise and represent to Aurora Energy the perspectives and preferences, including the service measures, that are important to consumers. The Panel has met four times to date, with an all-day workshop in November where Aurora Energy explained its proposal.

    The Panel’s primary focus has been to provide meaningful input into Aurora Energy’s proposal for a customised price-quality path application, including our future investment plans and pricing options. The Customer Advisory Panel has assisted Aurora Energy in hearing a wide range of consumer and community viewpoints on our proposal.

    The Panel was designed to help overcome some of the challenges of consumer engagement on electricity networks’ investment plans. These include the complexity of the topic being discussed, low levels of understanding of the role of electricity networks in bringing energy to consumers and the wide-ranging impacts of Aurora Energy’s decisions on individual power bills and future network services.

    The full independent report of the Customer Advisory Panel is available from the consultation website here.

    Key themes of the report as expressed by the Panel were:

    1. We understand Aurora Energy’s proposal and accept its clear focus on minimising price increases while remediating the underinvestment of the past to make it safe.

    2. Despite this we have strong concerns about the impact that such large and sudden increases in network prices will have on customers across the region – not just the most vulnerable in our community but businesses and those who manage on tight budgets.

    3. Because of this we have suggested accelerating the implementation of a fund to help households in energy hardship become more energy efficient as recommended by the government’s Electricity Price Review. We have also suggested that the fines that Aurora Energy will pay for breaching its regulated quality threshold and the Dunedin City Council Consumer Electricity Fund could contribute to it in the short term.

    4. In accepting Aurora Energy’s proposal, we are acknowledging the difficult trade-off that current management have made between safety and reliability. The network should never have been allowed to degrade to the state that it is now in. This points to shortcomings in company governance and the regulation it is subject to. We believe that these regulations should be reviewed in the light of experience at Aurora Energy to ensure that this situation does not recur elsewhere.

    5. Aurora Energy’s proposal explicitly defers expenditure to integrate small-scale renewable generation and demand response, to minimise price shocks in the short term. While we accept this trade-off, we believe that giving customers more local options about how they
    meet their energy needs will see electricity distributors like Aurora Energy play an important
    enabling role as New Zealand decarbonises. We expect this work to have a high priority
    in the subsequent CPP period.

    6. The industry is highly fragmented and it does not engage with customers simply enough to
    maintain their confidence and trust. Aurora Energy will need to develop a
    communications plan for all stakeholders in which it integrates messages from other
    companies in the electricity industry if it is to achieve the level of community support on
    which a successful CPP will depend.


    Aurora Energy will use the Customer Advisory Panel’s feedback along with the responses from other customers and stakeholders to refine our draft proposal. A summary of all the feedback we received during consultation, and how we responded to the issues raised, will be included in our final application to the Commerce Commission in June this year and will be publicly available.

    Consultation on Aurora Energy's future investment plans is open until 24 January 2020. After that, there will be further opportunity for feedback when the regulator, the Commerce Commission, holds its own consultation during the period July - December 2020.

    The Customer Advisory Panel will meet again in April when Aurora Energy will report back to the Panel how consultation feedback shaped its final proposal.

    Panel members represent a balance of customers across Aurora Energy’s network:
    • Anna Mickell – Queenstown Chamber of Commerce
    • Bridget Legnavsky – Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce
    • Debbie Gelling – Presbyterian Support Otago
    • Debbie George – Age Concern Otago
    • Dougal McGowan – Otago Chamber of Commerce
    • Jonathan West – Pioneer Energy
    • Jordana Whyte – Cosy Homes Trust
    • Louise van der Voort – Central Otago District Council
    • Dr Marion Poore – independent medical consultant
    • Dr Michael Jack – University of Otago
    • Michael Robertson – Contact Energy
    • Simon Davies – Federated Farmers Otago
    • Simon Drew – Dunedin City Council
    • Dr Stephen Batstone, succeeding Meaghan Miller – Queenstown Lakes District Council
    The Panel was supported in its work by John Hancock, as an independent expert advisor, who
    was the lead author of the report.

    Customised price-quality path (CPP) The Commerce Commission can set a customised
    price-quality path to better suit the needs of a regulated electricity business and its
    consumers. In June 2020, Aurora Energy will apply for a customised price-quality path to take
    effect from 1 April 2021. As part of the regulatory process, Aurora Energy is committed to
    consulting with consumers before changing our prices and our proposed investment plan
    must be approved by the regulator.
  • Consultation on Aurora Energy’s draft future investment proposal is closing soon

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    17 Jan 2020

    17 January 2020

    Aurora Energy is asking customers to have their say on a draft proposal to tackle ageing electricity infrastructure in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes and ready the network for the future.

    The proposal, published in November last year, outlines a three-year $400 million programme to continue essential investments, maintenance and upgrades to improve the safety, reliability and resilience of the Aurora Energy electricity network.

    Consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 24 January 2020 – have your say today at https://yoursay.auroraenergy.co.nz/. After that, there will be further opportunity for feedback when the regulator, the Commerce Commission, holds its own consultation during the period July - December 2020.

    An overview of the proposal and why Aurora Energy is proposing to make the investment and an online submission form are available at the same link. Paper copies are available on request from Aurora Energy and from local libraries and Council offices.

    You can have your say:

    • Online via the Your Network, Your Say website https://yoursay.auroraenergy.co.nz/
    • By returning the postage paid section at the end of the Your Network, Your Say Consultation Document
    • By email at yoursay@auroraenergy.co.nz
    • In writing to freepost Aurora Energy CPP Consultation, PO Box 5140, Dunedin 9054
    • By freephone 0800 22 00 05
    • We are also happy to arrange to meet in person.