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About

Energy Trusts of New Zealand Incorporated (ETNZ) is the national organisation of consumer-owned power distribution. We represent regional energy trusts located throughout New Zealand that are owners of companies operating electricity distribution networks (lines businesses) on behalf of local consumers and communities. Member trusts have investments worth several billion dollars in these lines companies, based on conservative regulatory valuations. ETNZ provides an information hub and forum for members to share knowledge within the energy sector, and is funded by a member levy.

Advocating for community ownership and liberalisation of controls

ETNZ's member trusts are responsible for ensuring that the electricity distributors they own operate as successful businesses while meeting trustee responsibilities to ensure the best outcomes for consumers. Under the current heavy regulatory regime, this poses challenges.

ETNZ and our member trusts are advocates for liberalisation of controls that discourage innovation and fail to promote sensible outcomes such as energy efficiency, that will deliver wider benefits to the households and businesses their companies supply. 

Why Community Ownership?

A strong focus on consumer interests
Protection of the investments our member trusts are responsible for
Focus on achieving the best outcomes for the people and regions we serve
Profits are channelled through to communities through trust dividends and line charge discounts
Trusts often promote positive local outcomes, such as the uptake of energy efficiency 
Recognition in legislation, exempting many trust-owned companies from the strict price controls applied to electricity distribution
Protecting vital intergenerational networks from predatory investors

Our Industry

ETNZ's member trusts own their local electricity distribution companies as part of the energy supply chain. Trusts are responsible for ensuring that the electricity distributors they own operate as successful businesses, but are not involved in day-to-day management of those companies. 

OUR PEOPLE

Our Executive Committee

Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc. is governed by an Executive Committee, elected by members each year.

Craig Sanders

Chair

Craig Sanders is the Chair of the Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc. as well as his local regional energy trust Waipa Networks Trust. He is an experienced leader, company director, trustee and business owner with a passion for developing the community.

Craig is an advocate for increasing home efficiency, and wants to continue initiatives such as promoting use of energy efficient light bulbs, housing insulation and solar energy.

Craig strongly supports retention of the existing Trust ownership structure and encourages the return of benefits to beneficiaries. He belives in staying consumer not government owned. 

"We are entering a new era in electricity distribution so we need to ensure our network can handle the increased demand for electric vehicles and other emerging technologies. Yet we must make sure that our farmers can milk their cows at the same time...We want Power Lines Companies that when we flick the switch the lights turn on."

Richard Allison

Deputy Chair

Richard Allison has been on the ETNZ executive for six years and strongly supports the Consumer Trust ownership structure.

"The monopoly characteristics common of electricity lines companies mean they are not exposed to the level of competitive market forces of energy industries. I see that through the Trust structure lines companies profits can be retained locally and that local ownership enables more effective energy related support to the communities where staff also live." 

"From the first idea of a wind farm in  Mainpowers North Canterbury area I have been a strong advocate. After decades of planning the Mt Cass Wind Farm, providing it proceeds, will be the largest in the South Island and help meet the rapidly growing demand for clean renewable electricity in New Zealand." 

Richard has an Agricultural Degree, and with his wife Jeanette, enjoys managing preschools and interests in farming and forestry.

Christine Rupp

Christine is the Chair of Counties Energy Trust and has been in this role for the last 5 years.

She has two adult children. Her background is in banking and finance both in New Zealand and overseas. She also owns 2 non-electricity based companies which gives her a broader industry experience in the current issues affecting companies.

She takes an active role in her local community on the Hunua Hall & Domain Committee and the Hunua Tennis Club. She is also the Registrar for the Franklin and Districts JP Association.

Her interests include travel, tennis, gardening, walking, kayaking and spending time with her grandchildren. Christine holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Science.

Christine was elected to the Energy Trusts of NZ (ETNZ) executive committee in March 2022 and since then has taken an active role in increasing the association’s membership.

She believes the Trust ownership by consumers is important as the areas where people have a voice are diminishing. With a strong association directly representing our consumers we have an opportunity to ensure our consumer’s voices are heard.

Wade Devine

Wade Devine is a registered electrician and has spent the great majority of his career in the practical electrical world both here in New Zealand and overseas. From residential to commercial, construction to heavy industry, as a Power Controller then on to high voltage maintenance systems at New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter, Wade has a huge range of experience. 

Elected onto the ETNZ executive in March 2022, Wade has previous governance experience with a national financial co-operative, serving as chair of both Audit/Risk and Governance committees.  He has also served as President of the New Zealand Electrical Institute Inc, and the Rotary Club of Invercargill South Inc. Elected to the Southland Power Trust in 2021, Wade also previously served from 2011 to 2015. 

"I am passionate about consumer ownership of electricity lines networks to support projects that ensure an affordable, secure network for consumers. I believe investments and excess profits should always benefit consumers. ETNZ should be part of the communications conduit and voice to the regulatory agencies and Government ministers, to ensure our positions on matters that affect our consumers are heard.

Wade is active in the Southland community, holding office bearer positions with non-profit organisations. He is married to Judi and they have two adult sons.

Cathie Bell

From Marlborough, Cathie Bell has been a trustee of the Marlborough Electric Power Trust since July 2020, and joined the ETNZ executive in August 2022. She owns her own business, working as a communications consultant, helping companies and organisations in Marlborough and nationally to tell their stories. 

She has held governance roles in national organisations for over 20 years, and is active in school, church, and community organisations. She moved with her family to Marlborough from Wellington, where she worked in communications, mostly in government agencies, including those regulating the energy sector. Cathie worked for several Cabinet Ministers, including a stint with the Energy Minister, during a high-profile electricity supply crisis. She has a strong interest in the energy sector, particularly in renewables and alternative energy. 

"Electricity is critical for modern life, and it is important that all parts of the system work as well as possible. Consumer-owned lines companies, with trustees holding the shares on behalf of consumers, have a special role to play in their communities. Both at ETNZ and MEPT, I hope to be able to support electricity consumers, work towards an efficient and effective power system, and to ensure the whole community is well-informed and understands the actions and decisions being made." 

Our Management

The Energy Trusts of New Zealand Inc. is managed by an Executive Officer and secretary.

Alan Jenkins

Executive Officer 

Alan Jenkins has spent most of his working life handling energy issues, beginning with the 1973 OPEC oil crisis and then New Zealand’s Think Big energy investment programme. His public service career ended with the dismantling of the Ministry of Energy in the 1980s, at which stage he was the General Manager with responsibilities for policy and for handling the aftermath of Think Big while managing residual functions from the Ministry’s Electricity Division. He also chaired the Rural Electrification Council for a number of years.

He moved on to be a full-time adviser to the then Electricity Supply Association, later taking on the role of Chief Executive of its successor, the Electricity Networks Association. On his retirement in 2015 he began part-time work as ETNZ’s Executive Officer.

Alan’s Masters degree includes passes in Economics and Law and he has been involved in a wide range of government administration and energy industry projects. He has been a strong supporter of trust governance, dating back to his involvement in reconstituting the last government-administered power company (Southland Electric Power Supply) as a trust in the 1980s.

He is married to Anne Brinkman and they have three adult children. 

Casey Te Brake

Secretary

An experienced administrator, Casey Te Brake joined the ETNZ as the secretary following the retirement of her predecessor who had a 21 year tenure. Casey has worked for her local network company Waipa Networks for last 4 years in customer service / administration / faults, and has had previous roles working as PA and adminitrator in small local businesses. 

As our secretary, Casey is the first point of contact between ETNZ and our members, organising conferences and performing general secretarial / administration duties. 

She holds a Diploma in Business Management from WINTEC and lives on a rural property with her husband Josh and their twin sons. Casey has travelled extensively before returning home to Te Awamutu, and has keen interest in property. The couple are currently building an investment property on land they recently subdivided locally.

"I am passionate about generating active participation and input from our members. I really enjoy working to keep our members well informed of changes that affect our industry."