Consideration for the TECT cheque

TECT helps fund several community initiatives, including the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter.

An end could be in sight for the TECT cheque for local Trustpower customers, and opinion in the community is divided over the issue.

TECT trustees recently put forward a proposal to consumers offering an initial $2500 pay out, plus five more years of cheques at $360 each.

From January 1 2023, TECT consumers would then cease to receive future cheque payments, with all dividends from the trust used for charitable projects.

Andrew Campbell, who’s been a Trustpower customer for more than 20 years, calls the $2500 offer ‘a cynical ploy’.

“The TECT cheque is, for me, an annual reminder of the evils of central government’s propensity to meddle with things that don’t need fixing.

“TECT is the government’s acknowledgement that its electrical reforms were, for Tauranga residents, the theft of a ‘boutique’ power scheme locally funded and operated.”

He plans to vote against it, at present, as he’s suspicious of the motivation.

“I may yet change my mind.”

He adds if the proposal goes through, he will re-examine his power supply options.

Kathy Sellars only joined Trustpower two years ago, after deliberating over whether the TECT cheque would negate the higher base cost of being with the company.

“If it wasn’t for the cheque I would not have moved from Mercury, who are cheaper and have really good prepay discounts.”

She says she enjoys having internet and power with one company, but would definitely look into other options if the cheque was taken away.

Other customers say they will vote for the proposal, although not all would switch power companies, citing the charitable contributions made by TECT as a reason to stay with Trustpower (from whom TECT receives the dividends with which they fund charities).

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless says people should research their options carefully.

“The TECT cheques create a lot of goodwill for Trustpower, because people think it comes from Trustpower directly, when TECT is in fact a quarter shareholder.

“What I really like is it’s up to people to decide. They should look at how they benefit, and how the community benefits, and vote accordingly.”

A household of three-to-four people using 600 kilowatt hours over 30 days would pay $218.03 with Trustpower – just under $9 more than nearest competitor Genesis, and significantly more than cheapest provider Electric Kiwi, which is estimated to be as cheap as $163.13 for the same electricity usage.

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Posted on 18-02-2018 19:55 | By NotNat

Trustpower are trying to do the right this for their people. Trustpower opposes tects proposal. Keep an eye on your mail box. Trustpower have sent letter out explaining the legal contract they had when they gave shares to tect - teCT promised to continue to look after trustpower Conumbers for another 50+ years, of which 10 or aotea have gone by....another 40 years of tect rebates is A LOT more than what’s on NO to the change!

Sounds like some peoples view wont count.

Posted on 15-02-2018 16:25 | By local yokel

It sounds like some peoples polled views wont count for much anyway. Namely the over 65’s or Super Card people. I had two calls from both a man and a lady from TECT who were taking polls of what people of various ages thought of their proposal. Soon as they started asking what age group I was in and I said over 65, they quickly said" Sorry, we have got enough feedback from that age group and don’t need anymore".They were obviously still canvassing the other age groups . To me this stinks as being a loyal Trust Power Customer for all these years from the late 60’s, TECT who now want to change a system that has worked well for years now think we are too old to have our opinions heard. It says something about lack of fairness on their behalf .


Posted on 07-02-2018 13:23 | By The Sage

Totally agree with Happy Day. Why should someone like myself who has been a Trustpower customer for well over 20 years, get the same amount as a new customer who has recently joined. The payments need to be proprtianate to your longevity as a customer. I was thinking of switching all my services, internet, phone and gas, to Trustpower, how I am not now. Then you have the group say from age 75 on who will think they may as well take the lump sum offer. I am sure we are not hearing the full story. Bill Holland seems to be the front person for TECT and he has credibility. However what about the others on the board. At least one of them I would not give the time of day to, and, how about the local MPs wife?


Posted on 06-02-2018 11:48 | By Happyday

So if you have been a customer of Trustpower for 20 - 30 years, do you get the $2,500 just the same as a person who has been a customer for only 1 year. The second one hasn’t even paid $2,500 for power, so why should they get that much back? Something wrong with the maths here.


Posted on 05-02-2018 15:38 | By Leader

The Chairman of TECT is being disingenuous with his reported statement that the Trustpower shares had not fallen and "instead said they had increased". Yes they had increased from the start of last year until early 2018 but since the proposal announcement on 25 January the share price had fallen 60cents a share wiping $50million off TECT’s investment and $190million off the value of Trustpower.Given that there is only one option this can’t be a good choice and will be denying consumers tens of thousands of dollars going forward. At least under the current provisions, consumers can choose which organisations they choose to support. I hope that consumers will not choose a short term handout.

TECT cheques

Posted on 05-02-2018 15:09 | By MISS ADVENTURE

They are a joke and simply amount to a Trustpower market extravaganza the likes of no other can complete. The joke is that in most cases the power rates charged cost a lot more than the cheque that comes back via TECT. The whole thing is a RORT, add to that the gulliable customers of Trustpower who think that they are better off somehow?

The sooner the better

Posted on 05-02-2018 14:16 | By roseh

I to at the moment are locked into Trust Power,but regardless to what happens when Im finished I’ll be out of it Didn’t realise how much dearer they are and although the cheque makes up for some Its Not All and at 81 I might as well take the check.But will still find another provider when I’m able

Cheque offer

Posted on 05-02-2018 13:12 | By MaureenR

I was leaning towards voting against but after researching other power companies, I could get my power cheaper from these companies, after adding up what I pay a year the saving equals the check anyways..I am on smooth pay for my power and they seem to put it up every 3 months and its summer time but still my bill is high for 2 people in the house ridiculous think will vote for the cheque and move on been a trust power customer since my husband worked for Tauranga Electricity department...before it became Trustpower so going back to 1969..2018

@backofthequeue about Brian Gaynors column on the idea

Posted on 05-02-2018 12:45 | By Elly Trish Cittey

I checked out Brian Gaynor’s piece. Not sure I’d take too much notice anyway but the bits I agreed with were "Trustpower has a loyal customer base, partly because of this annual distribution, which has allowed it to charge above average prices to customers." The Tect proposal "would not be in the best interest of shareholders, particularly Infratil which owns 51.0 per cent of Trustpower." Also "The (Tect) Trustees would like to increase (their distribution of) $7.7m to around $23m a year. This is a worthy gesture, but it effectively means a transfer of income from electricity consumers to community and charitable groups." This basically tells me Trustpower dislikes the proposal which is enough to make me in favour of it. I think Trustpower will have to reduce prices to keep consumers if things change, but they won’t have to if we just vote for the status quo.

How can Trustpower get away with Tauranga prices?

Posted on 05-02-2018 12:11 | By G. Willekers

It’s the goodwill from the TECT cheque and community gifting which comes from Trustpower’s 26% shareholder TECT. The other majority shareholders must think it’s great. Trustpower reckons they don’t factor in the TECT cheque when it comes to their Tauranga pricing? Hmmmm. Then how come they are so much more expensive than Electric Kiwi or Mercury? (Like about $600 a year for an average household based on the switch site). Seems to me this proposal is generally the way to go and should get Trustpower to lower its Tauranga prices and become competitive. As well as that there’s money for the consumers and community from TECT. As long as we still get to vote for the trustees that dish out the money of course.


Posted on 05-02-2018 11:34 | By Capt_Kaveman

give money for an over priced service then let them give it to who ever they want, this change should be deemed illegal, considering the govt of the time ripped us off and then the company has been ripping us off even more for a free resource that every nzer should benefit, its no wonder the country is in so much strife


Posted on 05-02-2018 10:17 | By waiknot

Sadly I never trust the motives any more. To often there is an underlying motive or dishonesty due to omission of information. Not saying this is the case here, but I learnt not to trust.

No extra for charities

Posted on 05-02-2018 10:07 | By spoilerfactory

I think its great what TECT does and they are very generous with their distributions, most organisations are very happy with what they receive from TECT.If this goes ahead people will bail from Trustpower in their droves without the cheque, so there will be less dividends paid out and no more money for the charities than they get now.


Posted on 05-02-2018 09:32 | By rosbo

When youre over 85, you cant see more than 5 years ahead, so yes Ill take the money and run (well, shuffle actually) , thanks

Why only one option?

Posted on 05-02-2018 09:30 | By backofthequeue

The fact that the trustees (sic) are putting forth a singular proposal is reason itself to vote against it. I highly recommend consumers read a recent article by financial commentator Brian Gaynor which not only raises questions about this unheralded move by the Trust but also offers an alternative option that would retain the TECT cheque and meet the trustees stated objectives. "A cynical ploy" is mentioned in the above article however when you consider the total offer is but one third of the current value ascribed each TECT consumer a more fitting description would be "a connivance".


Posted on 05-02-2018 09:25 | By Maryfaith

It is not long ago that Trustpower cajoled me into receiving a further discount - on top of ’Friends’, if I signed a 5 year contract. Silly me - couldn’t see why not! BUT now I am tied to them without having the option to change if the TECT cheques are to be stopped. I hope people can see that in this case ’A bird in the hand’ is NOT worth ’two in the bush’ !!