Sharechat Logo

New Meridian's close-to-home strategy is unveiled

By Chris Hutching

Friday 7th April 2000

Text too small?
The largest ECNZ spin-off company, Meridian Energy, is focusing on winning more retail customers in the South Island, its logical catchment area.

The company began with 30,000 customers in the Bay of Plenty.

But a marketing blitz offering free Sky television connections has helped it expand to 100,000 retail customers, mostly in Northland, Hawke's Bay and the Waitaki region.

At the opening of Meridian's new administration and call centre in Christchurch this week it revealed its strategy is to secure more customers in the South Island.

State-owned enterprise Meridian was formed from the split of ECNZ, inheriting eight hydro stations on the Waitaki River, the Lake Manapouri system and a wind turbine in Wellington.

Large customers include the Comalco aluminium smelter in Southland.

But most of its retail customers are at the other end of the country, which poses some transmission inefficiencies.

Meridian's chief executive Keith Turner built his own 130-strong team when he took up the job last year.

Some analysts have queried the expense of such manoeuvres in the energy sector given that the new Labour-led government intends keeping state assets rather than privatising them - the rationale behind last year's reforms under National's Max Bradford.

Mr Turner said he doubted it would be in anyone's interest to undo the reforms and re-create ECNZ.

The proof of the reforms at the generation level had been demonstrated by the drop in the price of wholesale electricity.

There were unresolved problems for retail customers wanting to switch suppliers and Meridian wanted to speed up the process, which relied on co-operation from rivals.

An agreement was needed between the parties.

In spite of considerable talk about competition in the retail sector there is little competition on actual retail price with most points of difference between companies based on special one-off offers and different tariff levels based on supply times.

Meanwhile, Meridian reported a profit of $50.7 million for the six months to the end of December 31, 1999.

During the period Meridian paid distribution of $99.9 million to the Crown .

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: Blue-chip stocks Meridian, A2 lead market lower
NZ dollar rises on Brexit hopes, rate cut reassessment
Three not failing, just needs a new owner - MediaWorks CEO
Major investors back new CBL class action targeting directors
Rip Curl purchase a done deal on Kathmandu proxies alone
Comvita chair Neil Craig eyes the exit once he finds a new CEO
Mercury raises guidance on increased storage, high spot prices
Eroad reports strong 3Q sales growth, eyes ASX listing
MediaWorks puts TV business on the block
NZ dollar benefits as preliminary Brexit deal improves risk appetite

IRG See IRG research reports