Chief Executive of Aurora Energy Richard Fletcher said: "It is important for our new management team to have a comprehensive assessment of the current status of the network that can be shared and understood by all of our stakeholders, including customers, regulators, local Councils and the communities that host our assets.
"The independent review that we are commissioning is a prudent response to the challenges Aurora Energy faces in operating an ageing network and the major renewal programme planned over the next decade.
"It is important that the reviewer is independent, experienced and has an understanding of the operating environment in New Zealand. We are currently in discussions with an engineering advisory firm that meets those requirements.
"Aurora Energy’s Board and management are committed to transparency and once complete, we will present the findings to stakeholders at public meetings so that everyone has a common understanding of the state of the network, which will help inform future investment priorities."
Dr Fletcher, who started as Chief Executive in January, went on to say: "Our team has a busy programme of work over the next few years to ensure we maintain safe and reliable electricity services for our customers.
"We previously signalled our intention to apply to the Commerce Commission for a Customised Price Path (CPP) to reset the company’s regulated price path to match our long term investment requirements so we can deliver the service our customers expect.
"We need to allow sufficient time in our CPP preparations for all stakeholders to have the opportunity and time to feed into our planning process, so that the CPP application reflects their views and priorities. We have therefore notified the Commission of our intention to apply for a CPP in mid-2020. In the meantime, we will continue to drive forward with our business and asset management maturity improvements," said Dr Fletcher.
Aurora Energy Chair Steve Thompson reaffirmed the Board’s commitment to push on with the elevated levels of renewal and maintenance investment in the period leading up to the CPP application, as was outlined in our 2017 Asset Management Plan. "Our focus on priority work that targets renewal of ageing network assets is undiminished."
Aurora Energy will be providing further information on the independent review on its website as it proceeds.