Alpine Energy appoints regulatory and pricing manager
Alpine Energy Ltd, South Canterbury’s electricity distributor, has moved to ensure that regulation and pricing is kept under close scrutiny by appointing its first dedicated manager to oversee these crucial aspects of the company’s operation.
A former senior analyst in the Commerce Commission’s regulation branch Sara Carter has joined Alpine Energy Ltd from Wellington where for three and a half years, since arriving from Darwin, Northern Territory, she monitored compliance by electricity distribution businesses (EDBs) throughout New Zealand.
Mrs Carter said she was attracted to join the Timaru-based company because of its strong business model, its progressive support of the community, and its chief executive’s strong management vision as a crucial generator of regional growth.
“Alpine Energy projects the business support model necessary for commerce to thrive and grow,” Mrs Carter said.
Her involvement with company began in a watchdog role.
“As a regulator the Commission ensures that similar pressures on prices and quality of service that are found in competitive markets are applied to monopoly providers of electricity distribution services. Basically, the aim of regulation is to stop EDBs from overcharging for and under-delivery of electricity distribution services,” she said.
“What struck me particularly about Alpine Energy was its determination to improve reliability while keeping increases to prices for electricity distribution as low as is possible.
“Nobody likes to pay more for electricity, but as costs to provide electricity distribution services increase, then so too must prices. Part of my job is to ensure that the increases to prices are no more than what they need to be to meet the level of reliability that consumers expect,” Mrs Carter said.
She said that as a distributor, Alpine was often mistakenly the subject of the public’s agitation when retailers bill customers for their electricity consumption.
“The cost of electricity distribution is only one part of the overall price that customers pay when they consume electricity. Retailers have their own pricing policies which Alpine Energy does not influence.”
She said effective and successful performance in any community came down to best practice.
“It’s about knowing how to invest in an essential service to the community in an innovative and efficient way,” Mrs Carter said.
She sees Timaru as a wonderful lifestyle choice.
“We are just so lucky to be able to live here and enjoy this wonderful region.”
Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said Mrs Carter’s role with the company was a newly-created one.
“The board is delighted to have attracted someone of her experience and skills in an environment where regulation and pricing is so critical to our success.”