In New Zealand, the process of getting electricity from start to finish through to your home or business goes through four different stages —generation, transmission, distribution and retail.
Each of these stages is provided by various companies, as outlined by government legislation.
Generation is the process of generating or creating the electricity itself through different methods such as hydroelectric, geothermal, gas, wind, solar, coal and diesel.
Around 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated from renewable sources.
Once the electricity has been generated, it is fed through to the national grid for movement around the country. This is known as transmission.
Electricity is carried through the national grid which is owned by Transpower – transpower.co.nz. The national grid transmits electricity at high voltages (up to 220,000 volts) over 12,000 kilometres of transmission lines around New Zealand.
The electricity travels via the transmission lines and 170 substations in various parts of New Zealand to your local grid substation.
From local substations, distribution companies — like Northpower — bring the power across their networks directly to your property boundary.
We provide and maintain the lines network for Whangarei and Kaipara, as well as performing maintenance services on other networks across the North Island.
Once the electricity reaches your door, you are charged the electricity you use (by your energy retailer) which may include a fixed and variable charge. There are 31 energy retailers in New Zealand, all with different methods of charging.
To help consumers get the best deal for their electricity, the Electricity Authority promotes competition in this sector. You can learn more about this at What's My Number – whatsmynumber.org.nz.