District Development

In 1925 the Taumarunui Borough Council set up its Electricity department and constructed a run of the river Hydro generation station at Piriaka on the Whanganui River.

For the wider district, the King Country Electric Power Board was first gazetted in 1940 but not established until 1946, at the end of the Second World War.

The construction of a lines network was a difficult challenge and was only economically feasible in some of the remote valleys when local residents provided voluntary labour to assist with line construction.

The completion of the electricity reticulation to the original King Country district was not completed until 1959.

The southern Lake Taupo area was added to the district in 1960 including the townships of Tokaanu and Turangi.

In 1962, the King Country Electric Power Board constructed a hydro generating station on the Kuratau river near Turangi with a small storage lake.

The Ohakune Borough Council’s electricity assets were added to the district by purchase in 1969 followed by the Taumarunui Borough Councils business in 1989, to complete the southern King Country consolidation of network and generation assets.

King Country Energy Ltd entered into a joint venture with Todd Mangahao Ltd in December 1997 and formed KCE Mangahao Ltd to purchase the Mangahao hydro generation assets near Shannon from the government owned ECNZ.

Government Electricity Reforms and Birth of the Trust

By 1990 the government of the day was convinced that the electricity industry was inefficient and competition was needed. They disestablished the Power Boards that had controlled the electricity companies and required them to adopt a two tiered corporate business structure.

This was legislated in the Energy Companies Act 1992.

King Country Energy Ltd was formed and operated by a board of directors to oversee the business management.

Ownership was vested with the consumer beneficiaries and they were represented by trustees who constituted the King Country Power Trust and held the company shares on their behalf, exerciseing governance over the directors and the company.

Not satisfied with this reform of the industry the National government, in spite of widespread community and industry protestations, passed the Electricity Reform Act of 1998 which required the separation of the lines network operations from the retailing and generating functions.

Faced with the reality of separated businesses too small to be economically viable, after taking expert advice the trustee owners agreed to a merger of King Country Energy Ltd with Waitomo Energy Company and then separated the combined companies into a lines network (The Lines Company) business and retail/generation operations (King Country Energy Ltd).

Following asset valuations the King Country Power Trust held 25% of The Lines Company and 68% of King Country Energy Ltd. Under the requirement of the Reform Act the Trust was only able to retain a maximum of 10% shareholding and to conform, distributed 58% of the shares to its consumer beneficiaries, allocated on their previous 12 months electricity usage.

History of Company Structure

After the consumer share issue in 1999, the need to increase the capital base and bring broader energy expertise to the company required the introduction of new shareholders.

Todd Energy Ltd were invited and accepted to purchase a 20% shareholding, purchasing 3.75 million shares at $2.88 each, raising $10.8 million.

On the 31st March 1999 the shareholding of King Country Energy Ltd was then: As at 31.3.2005:
Todd Energy Ltd 20% 35.4%
King Country Trust 10% 10%
Waitomo Energy Services Trust 8% 8.2%
Consumer Share Holders 62% Others 46.4%

At the same date 31 March 1999 the lines network company, The Lines Company was owned by the Waitomo Energy Services Trust and King Country Energy Power Trust jointly with 75% and 25% shares respectively, this shareholding has since changed.

As at February 2014, the Waitomo Energy Services Consumer Trust owns 100% of The Lines Company.
As of 29 March 2018, the majority shareholders of electricity retailer and generator King Country Energy Limited (KCE), Trustpower Limited (Trustpower) and King Country Trust (previously the King Country Electric Power Trust), officially assumed full ownership of KCE.

This was the outcome of a joint venture (JV) takeover offer from Trustpower and KCT initiated in December 2017, at which time the JV sought to acquire the balance of KCE’s ordinary shares at $5 per share.
The King Country Trust currently owns 25% of King Country Energy Limited plus a number of other investments within a structured investment policy statement.

BNZ Private Banking manages the funds on our behalf.

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