The building will be officially opened by New Zealand’s Energy Minister, Hon. Simon Bridges, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tauranga.
Rapid expansion over more than two years has seen Trustpower outgrow its former head office facility, located at Te Maunga on the outskirts of Tauranga. That, combined with a desire to move to a new activity based working model, which Trustpower calls Synergy New Ways of Working, has seen 525 staff move to a new purpose-built facility on Durham Street in the Tauranga CBD.
The new building will house functions ranging from the 24/7 control centre for Trustpower’s generation facilities, which include 38 New Zealand and three Australian hydro facilities, two New Zealand and three Australian wind farms, and a small diesel generation array near Marsden Point (which provides increased security of supply and pricing stability for the Northland and Far North areas of New Zealand), to Customer Service, Generation Support, IT, Finance, Marketing and Community Relations.
Hon Simon Bridges says Trustpower, with a history dating back some 100 years, has been notable for its willingness to push boundaries and explore new opportunities.
“Most people don’t realise that Tauranga was the first place in New Zealand to have electricity reticulated to houses, and that in an environment where a downturn in some parts of the energy sector, Trustpower is continuing to look for opportunities for growth. For example, it is currently in final commercial negotiations for an investment at its Arnold hydro scheme on the West Coast, designed to improve the civil safety of the dam along with generation capacity and longevity of the station. This project will have welcome and enduring economic benefits for that region.”
Mr Bridges added that Trustpower’s willingness to move into and help stimulate the Tauranga CBD, the design of its new building, and the incorporation into that building of a move to a workplace model most commonly seen internationally at leading edge commercial operations and educational institutions, is a great example for other New Zealand businesses to follow.
Trustpower Chief Executive Vince Hawksworth, says the company’s welcome to the CBD by other businesses has been outstanding.
“We never expected such a welcome, with businesses putting up ‘Welcome to the neighbourhood Trustpower’ signs, putting on welcome events, and providing purchasing offers for our staff.”
Mr Hawksworth said Trustpower’s staff were well overdue for a new modern and more efficient workplace, and he expects that, along with efficiencies gained from the new work environment, will help alleviate the pressures of coping with a business that has been, and looks to continue, rapidly expanding.
In addition to its new Tauranga head office, Trustpower has a large customer service centre in Oamaru, offices housing commercial account managers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, generation maintenance and engineering teams located at regional hydro power stations, owns Energy direct which houses its retail function in Whanganui, and has generation development staff based in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
Trustpower is majority owned by New Zealand infrastructure investment company Infratil (50.6%), and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (26.6%), with the majority of the remainder of its shares being held by New Zealand institutions and investment funds, and members of the public – giving it the largest New Zealand ownership of the five largest New Zealand electricity companies, at more than 98%.
Trustpower recently proposed, with the support of its major shareholders, to undertake a demerger – which would see its retail business and New Zealand and Australian hydro schemes retained in Trustpower, and its existing and proposed new windfarms owned and operated by a new company, presently referred to as “Newco”.
Mr Hawksworth says the demerger proposal recognised Trustpower’s reputation and proven expertise related to building commercially, environmentally and socially successful wind farms, most recently in Australia where it now has a significant pipeline of new wind development projects.
“Our Snowtown wind farm is not only the second largest in Australasia and the largest in South Australia, which is the “wind farm capital” of that country, but it has been built and continues to operate with total support from the local community - delivering world class output and making a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from alternative generation. In addition, it has allowed Trustpower to use its intellect and capability to import wealth to New Zealand. We are really proud of that.”