An end could be in sight for the TECT cheque for local Trustpower customers, and opinion in the community is divided over the issue.
TECT trustees recently put forward a proposal to consumers offering an initial $2500 pay out, plus five more years of cheques at $360 each.
From January 1 2023, TECT consumers would then cease to receive future cheque payments, with all dividends from the trust used for charitable projects.
Andrew Campbell, who's been a Trustpower customer for more than 20 years, calls the $2500 offer ‘a cynical ploy'.
“The TECT cheque is, for me, an annual reminder of the evils of central government's propensity to meddle with things that don't need fixing.
“TECT is the government's acknowledgement that its electrical reforms were, for Tauranga residents, the theft of a ‘boutique' power scheme locally funded and operated.”
He plans to vote against it, at present, as he's suspicious of the motivation.
“I may yet change my mind.”
He adds if the proposal goes through, he will re-examine his power supply options.
Kathy Sellars only joined Trustpower two years ago, after deliberating over whether the TECT cheque would negate the higher base cost of being with the company.
“If it wasn't for the cheque I would not have moved from Mercury, who are cheaper and have really good prepay discounts.”
She says she enjoys having internet and power with one company, but would definitely look into other options if the cheque was taken away.
Other customers say they will vote for the proposal, although not all would switch power companies, citing the charitable contributions made by TECT as a reason to stay with Trustpower (from whom TECT receives the dividends with which they fund charities).
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless says people should research their options carefully.
“The TECT cheques create a lot of goodwill for Trustpower, because people think it comes from Trustpower directly, when TECT is in fact a quarter shareholder.
“What I really like is it's up to people to decide. They should look at how they benefit, and how the community benefits, and vote accordingly.”
A household of three-to-four people using 600 kilowatt hours over 30 days would pay $218.03 with Trustpower – just under $9 more than nearest competitor Genesis, and significantly more than cheapest provider Electric Kiwi, which is estimated to be as cheap as $163.13 for the same electricity usage.