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23/1/2019 — General
Positive quarter for Trustpower

In the December quarter Trustpower Ltd’s (NZX: TPW) power sales fell 2% to 881 gigawatt hours, while generation for the three months was marginally higher at 490 GWh.

Trustpower said this week that its average spot generation price for the quarter was more than two-times higher at $200 per MWh.

For the nine months to December, power sales were 2,917/GWh, 2% less than for the nine months last year. Generation volumes were 8.5% lower at 1,656/GWh but average prices were 31% higher at $117/MWh.

More than 80% of the new customers it took on in the quarter signed up for two or more products.

The company had about 400,000 utility accounts at December end, up from 399,000 at the end of September and 395,000 a year earlier.

BusinessDesk reported that all the growth in the December quarter was in the firm’s telecommunications services. Gas accounts were unchanged at 38,000 while power connections fell to 269,000 from 270,000 in September and 273,000 last December.

Trustpower is New Zealand’s fifth-ranked power retailer, and has offered phone and internet services since 2007 and began offering gas in 2013 as part of a strategy to target more valuable customers and discourage them from changing supplier.

BusinessDesk said Trustpower has focused more on telecommunications in the past year, given the tough competition in the gas market and what it considered to be unsustainable prices being offered in the power market.

But it is not alone. Contact Energy has also begun offering broadband and Todd Corporation-owned Nova Energy is offering phone and internet services.

In November, Trustpower signed a wholesale deal with Spark New Zealand to enable it to start offering mobile phone services and wireless broadband.

Chief financial officer Kevin Palmer said the firm is still working on its back-office systems and the interface with Spark for the offers planned for 2019.

Trustpower this week repeated that it expects to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in financial instruments of between $215 million and $235 million for the year ended March.

Sources: businessdesk.co.nz; nzresources.com

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