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Knowledge is power

Understanding your power bill

At Alpine Energy, we are committed to ensuring our customers have a reliable power supply.

The Electricity Value Chain

This diagram shows how electricity is supplied to you via the electricity value chain in Aotearoa.


Power stations generate electricity from water, wind, geothermal gas and coal


Transpower moves the electricity across the country via the high voltage power lines called the national grid


Alpine Energy takes electricity from the national grid and lowers the high voltage electricity for local use


Alpine Energy distributes the electricity to your home or business via power lines and underground cables

Alpine Energy

Retailers sell electricity to customers and deal directly with you


You use the electricity provided to power your home or business

Alpine Energy

Alpine Energy distributes electricity, via our network of poles, power lines, cables, and other infrastructure, into homes and businesses across the South Canterbury region. We have a responsibility to maintain and upgrade the network to continue to bring you a safe and reliable power supply. Our assets have long lives, so it is important that we invest in high-quality infrastructure to meet the needs of our communities in the future.

Understanding your power bill

Your power bill comes from your electricity retailer, and it bundles up a range of different costs into one bill.

These costs are:

30% GenerationThis is the cost of producing the power. Electricity is produced from various sources such as hydro dams, wind farms and thermal power stations across Aotearoa.

10% TransmissionThis covers the cost of getting the electricity from where it is generated to our region. It includes the cost of maintaining and operating the national grid by Transpower.

27% DistributionThis cost goes to your electrical distibution company, which in South Canterbury, is Alpine Energy and is generally referred to as “distribution price”. We take the electricity from the national grid and get it to your home or business. This portion of your bill pays for maintaining and upgrading the poles, power lines, cables and other infrastructure, and responding to faults or outages when they happen. This price also covers building new assets to continue to supply the community as it grows.

20% RetailerThis cost goes to your chosen electricity retailer and the company that reads and maintains your electricity meters, covering the administrative costs of selling you electricity.

13% GSTThis is the Goods and Services Tax (15% of pre-tax amount, 13% of total amount).

Percentages are approximate. GST percentage is calculated from the total amount after GST has already been applied.

The final bill that you see will have two different parts:

A daily fixed charge (displayed as cents per day) It covers meter rental, meter reading costs, and our delivery prices. The retailers usually bundle these charges and reflect this as a fixed fee.

A variable price (based on your power usage) How much you have used is shown as units or kilowatt hours (kWh), while the rate that your usage is charged at is shown as cents per unit or kilowatt hours (c/kWh).

GST is charged on the total.

“We are regulated by
the Commerce
Commission and the
Electricity Authority.”

33,800 Customer Connections

How we support the community

Alpine Energy is owned by four shareholders:

  • Timaru District Holdings Company - a subsidiary of Timaru District Council (47.5%)
  • The LineTrust South Canterbury (40%)
  • Waimate District Council (7.54%)
  • Mackenzie District Council (4.96%)

We pay an annual dividend to our shareholders, and this is re-directed back to the South Canterbury community.

Our Sponsorship and Personal Grants Programme supports community events and local people across the region.

We also employ about 220 people across our group of companies and contribute significantly to the economic wellbeing and development of the region.

“Our distribution charges enable us to operate, maintain and build all the underground and overhead power lines that support over 33,800 customers in South Canterbury.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Alpine Energy do with the money from our delivery prices?

The electricity distribution network is made up of many complex parts, designed to work together to safely deliver quality and reliable electricity to homes, businesses, and the community. Your delivery prices enable Alpine Energy to operate, maintain, and build all of the power lines (both overhead and underground) and the supporting infrastructure that connects over 33,800 homes and businesses across South Canterbury. This supporting infrastructure includes substations, switching stations, distribution boxes and much more.

Delivery prices also allow us to maintain our network, clearing trees and vegetation near our power lines, inspecting our assets on a regular basis, and responding to faults when the power is out. These prices also help us plan our network so we can meet future demands in our region, providing new electricity connections, changing technology, and support Aotearoa’s zero-carbon goals through the electrification of industrial process heat and transportation, and the growing use of renewable energy (like solar and wind).

How can I save on my electricity bill?

Powerswitch is a free and independent service that helps you work out which power company and pricing plan from participating retailers is best suited to you. Using their comprehensive database of electricity and gas prices, it is easy to compare plans and find some of the best deals in your area.

Call 0800 266 786 or visit to see how you can save.

Are electricity distribution companies regulated?

Yes, our business, including how much we can charge consumers, is regulated by the Commerce Commission and the Electricity Authority. This is because electricity distribution businesses are natural monopolies, meaning we have limited to no competition. The Commerce Commission requires us to comply with a range of regulations to make sure we deliver our services to a high quality and in a cost-effective way for the long-term benefit of our consumers. The Electricity Authority’s role is to promote competition and protect the interests of electricity consumers.

You can find out more about the Commerce Commission’s regulations here:

You can find out more about the Electricity Authority’s role in regulating the electricity market here:

Contact us

For any other questions relating to understanding your power bill, please contact your retailer or email us at
with the subject line “Pricing.” Please include the nature of your query and your contact details.

Or call us on 0800 66 11 77

We are also a member of the Utilities Disputes complaints scheme. If you have raised a complaint that we have not managed to resolve, you can contact Utilities Disputes for resolving complaints, this is a free and independent service. Phone 0800 22 33 40, or visit