Hastings Leader - 2021-07-21




2021 ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING THE TRUST The Trust, set up in 1993, holds all the shares in Unison Networks Limited, on behalf of consumers who are connected to Unison’s electricity lines network in Hawke’s Bay – generally the areas of the Hastings District Council and the Napier City Council. The Trust has five Trustees who are elected every three years. The current Trustees are Diana Kirton (Chair), Barbara Arnott, Kirsten Westwood, David Pearson and Jeff Farnworth. This is an annual report on the operations and financial results of the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust for the year ended 31 March 2021. Trading activities of Unison Networks Limited, are summarised later in this report. WHAT THE TRUST DOES The Trustees role is to hold the shares for the benefit of its consumer-owners and also to ensure the value of their investment is protected and enhanced. They monitor the operational and financial performance of the Company by measuring results against the Company’s business plan and Statement of Corporate Intent progressively during the year. In this way they are alert to any variations to the outcomes that have been agreed with the Board. Key tasks of the Trust are to: • Act in the best interests of the consumers, as owners, and exercise their rights as shareholders. • Appoint Unison’s Board of Directors and monitor their performance and the performance of the Company. • Determine annually the amount of Trust funds to be paid to consumer-owners as a dividend or in other ways. • Approve Unison’s annual business goals and financial objectives. • Manage and account for the financial affairs of the Trust. • Hold a public meeting each year to report on the operations and financial performance of the Trust. • Review the ownership of Unison’s shares every five years, through a public consultative process. The next ownership review will be held in 2023. TRUST ACTIVITIES SINCE 2020 ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING Dividend Distribution In 2019 Trustees pursued the option of distributing the annual dividend by direct credit to bank accounts. Following widespread engagement with Hawke’s Bay power consumers, 67% of users opted for the direct credit system for the 2020 distribution. With the phasing out of cheques as a payment method the challenge for the Trustees now is to sign up 100% of consumers for the 2021 distribution. An extensive marketing campaign will be undertaken over the next few months with this goal in mind. Communications The Trust communicates matters of interest to consumers through local media, the Trust website and at the annual public meeting. The Trust’s own website can be accessed at: Home insulation contribution The Trust contributed $287,971 to home insulation projects funded by EECA over the past financial year. This has allowed for the insulation of approximately 500 homes in the last financial year. These homes have mainly been in the higher decile areas though a proportion of the funding is available for the general population of Hawke’s Bay power consumers. Apart from the obvious health benefits of a warm house, this initiative supports consumers to better manage their energy use and consumption Consumer Dividends $15 million in 2020 In 2020 the Trust received a dividend payment from Unison of $15.8 million, exclusive of imputation credits. In August 2020 Trustees distributed $15 million dividend to consumerowners. Just over 60,000 dividend payments were paid to by either cheque or direct credit to consumers. Each payment was for $230, with tax credits attached – to a maximum of three payments per consumer. Working with Directors During the year Trustees have been updated on Company activities, key risks and future developments of the Company. They have held meetings with the Chair of the Board in relation to the SCI, as well as occasional meetings with the wider group of Directors. The strong relationship between Trustees and Directors continues. A challenging but successful year for Unison in 2021: More dividends for consumers Unison Networks has managed to have another successful year to 31 March 2021 despite some of the challenges the company has faced. In particular were the implementation of the Commerce Commission’s reset of the cost of capital, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on operations. These events both had a financial impact on the company, however we are pleased to announce there will be another dividend distribution to consumers later this year. $203 Million to Consumers in 22 years The direct financial benefits consumers have had from Trust ownership since 1999 will be around $203 million. Trust ownership has also brought other benefits through increased investment in the safety and security of the network, ongoing and major improvements in reliability of supply and energy efficiency and safety initiatives. Compliance with Guidelines for access to information by beneficiaries The Guidelines, which all electricity trusts are required to adopt, provide for Trust beneficiaries to have access to information, to attend public meetings of the Trust, and to have access to a complaints process for dealing with refusals to supply information or allow access to public meetings. Details of the Guidelines are on our website.


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