• Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust receives $15.8 dividend from Unison Networks Ltd

Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust receives $15.8 dividend from Unison Networks Ltd

At the annual public meeting of the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust (HBPCT) held on Wednesday 26 July, Trust Chair, Diana Kirton, announced the Trust had received notice of a dividend payment from Unison Networks of $15.8m for the 2022/23 financial year.

“The question of what impact the cyclone would have on the dividend has been front of mind for Trustees in the past 5 months. In declaring a dividend in line with the prior year, the Board has recognised the Trust’s desire to support consumer shareholders in what has been a difficult period for the region” said Kirton.

This payment will bring the total direct financial benefit consumers have received from Trust ownership since 1999 to just over $250 million. The Trust will determine the dollar value of this year’s consumer dividend payments at its next meeting on 14 August 2023. The cut-off date for eligibility is likely to be 30 September. Payments will be made by direct credit into nominated accounts in late November.

“Trustees are honoured to represent the interests of power consumers in the Napier/Hastings region. We are particularly pleased to see that in these tough times, our consumers receive a dividend from their locally owned lines company, Unison Networks Ltd,” Kirton (pictured) said.

At the meeting the Trust took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Unison team for their outstanding response to Cyclone Gabrielle. At the time, Trustees were totally encouraging and supportive of the response that was 100% consumer focused.

“Trustees are exceptionally proud of Unison’s response to the cyclone. Unison took the lead in many instances, communicated accurately and delivered on what they promised. This was crucial at this time of crisis. They really were the ‘humble heroes’ of the cyclone response group” Kirton said.

The Trust also announced that the 5-yearly Ownership Review of Unison will take place later this year. “The process for the 2023 Ownership Review was initiated in March of this year with Trustees requesting Directors to produce a report considering proposals and available options for future ownership of the shares” said Kirton. The full requirements of the report can be read in Clause 4 of the Deed of Trust, available on the HBPCT website: https://www.hbpct.co.nz/review-of-ownership/ .

The report will be available to the public and submissions open on 15 September. The last day for submissions is 16 October. This will be followed by a public meeting to hear submissions on 10 November, then Trustees will make a decision on 17 November.

“It is hoped that power consumers connected to Unison Networks Ltd will take this opportunity to consider the issues and develop well-informed opinions on the future ownership of this vital piece of local infrastructure” said Kirton.