The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust could become a solely charitable trust, in a proposal that will undergo community consultation.
In 2018, TECT is proposing to offer consumers an additional $2500 cheque, the equivalent of five years’ worth of the current average TECT cheque.
As well, TECT will continue to pay TECT cheques for the next five years and will commit to distribute $20 million annually to consumers through to 2022.
Based on current consumer numbers, future TECT cheques would equate to $360 per consumer account.
The average TECT cheque last year was $497.
From January 1 2023, TECT consumers will then cease to receive future cheque payments.
From 2019, TECT would increase funding available for community initiatives, and from 2023 would channel all future dividends exclusively to a host of community initiatives and organisations such as local clubs, associations and charities, tripling the amount of its investment in community-based groups.
Eligible Consumers for the $2500 would be those who held a Trustpower power account on January 1, 2018 and continuously through to June 30, 2018, and were located in the TECT district.
“We understand that this is an important change for consumers and to ensure the process is democratic, we intend to take a final proposal to a binding vote after a five-week consultation process,” says TECT chair Bill Holland.
“During the consultation process, we encourage consumers to give us their views on the form of the proposal. Their opinions will then be taken into account and will be incorporated into a final proposal. Consumers will then be asked to vote.”
The consultation process will include:
• A clearly articulated proposal which will be available online and in hard-copy
• A series of consumer information sessions around the district
• Trustees will be available to talk about the proposal to interested groups
• The opportunity to provide written feed-back and to present submissions in person
Following the five-week consultation period, trustees will then deliberate and take into account all the feedback received with an open mind, before making a final proposal that is put forward for the vote.
“Consumers will then have the opportunity to vote on the proposal, which will only proceed if there is a majority of more than 50 per cent of the vote in favour,” says Bill.
“These changes are necessary because of rapid change to the electricity industry which now, 25 years after the trust was formed, is impacting on the future for TECT.
“This was most clearly shown in 2016 when Tilt Renewables Ltd was split off from Trustpower. For trustees, this signals a change in risk profile.”
Bill says the trustees’ burden of stewardship was to protect the trust’s purpose and value for current and future beneficiaries.
“If the change is implemented as proposed the original intention of the trust can be fulfilled. It will have a multigenerational impact on the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty community.”
If the change proposed is voted in, TECT will move from being a consumer trust to operating solely as a charitable trust.
If the vote is ‘Yes’ the Trustees will then seek validation from the High Court for approval for the change.