TrustPower customer base continues to decline

Electricity generator and retailer TrustPower continues to lose customers in what continues to be a challenging and competitive market.

Figures released by the company, which owns Waipori Dam, near Dunedin, showed it had lost another 1000 customers between the end of March and the end of June.

At the end of June, the company had 208,000 customers, down from 209,000 in March and down 12,000 from June 30 last year.

Customer sales fell to 973,000GWh in the three months ended June compared with 1.03 million GWh in the three months ended March. In the 12 months to March, the company sold nearly four million GWh.

TrustPower chairman Bruce Harker said at yesterday's annual meeting it was clear that the retail market remained competitive and that customers had choices. They could change their supplier if they were not happy with the service, the price, or the corporate responsibility of their retailer.

"Your company has never seen retail as a route to market for its generation schemes. It has always strived for service excellence, low costs to serve and relevance to customers.

"TrustPower's retail business is performing well, despite the fall in customer numbers, in the context of the very competitive retail market."

North Island hydro-electricity generation fell to 182GWh in June compared with 277GWh in March and South Island hydro-electricity generation fell to 266GWh from 271GWh.

Total wind generation fell marginally to 156GWh from 157GWh.

Dr Harker said the total New Zealand generation production was 604GWh in the quarter, 14% below the pcp but less than 2% below the expected long-term average production. That reflected very strong hydro-electricity production in the previous period.

New Zealand hydro-electricity storage levels improved during July and wholesale electricity prices fell as a result, he said.

Mass market customer sales were down 5% for the quarter, predominantly due to lower customer numbers. Time-of-use sales were down 5% but TrustPower sold 35GWh more volume through the ASX during the quarter than the previous period because that was determined to be the best product placement option given high wholesale electricity prices.

Mass market competition remained strong, Dr Harker said.



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