FAQs

General Questions

What area does Alpine Energy Service?

Alpine Energy services the majority of South Canterbury which includes the Timaru, Mackenzie and Waimate Districts. The main towns of supply include Timaru, Waimate, Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, Farlie, Tekapo and Twizel.

Who owns Alpine Energy?

Alpine Energy is jointly owned by the District Councils in the supply area (Timaru DC (47.5%), Waimate DC (7.54%) and Mackenzie DC (4.96%) and LinesTrust South Canterbury (40%). All customers connected to Alpine Energy’s network are beneficiaries of LinesTrust South Canterbury.

What is the difference between a lines company and a retailer?

There are four different types of organization that work together to provide you with electricity:

  • Electricity Generators: generates the power at Power Stations.
  • Transpower: operates the National Grid which transmits electricity from Power Stations to Grid Exit Points.
  • Lines Companies: distributes electricity from Grid Exit Points to homes and business. There are many Lines Companies throughout New Zealand. Each has their own area in which they build and maintain their network. Alpine Energy is a Lines Company.
  • The Retailers: Sells you the electricity and conduct meter reading.

Do you have opportunities for students to gain work experience?

Alpine Energy usually looks to take on one or two tertiary students during the summer holidays. Typically students would be in the final years of their Electrical Engineering degree and would have a special interest in power networks and electricity distribution.

What is an ICP Number?

ICP stands for Installation Control Point. An ICP Number is a unique number that is assigned by the Lines Company to identify an individual metering point. You may need to quote the ICP Number(s) of your meter(s) to an Electricity Retailer if you change retailers.

How do I make a complaint?

If you have a complaint regarding your electricity bill then you should contact your Electricity Retailer. You will find their contact details on the Power Bill itself. Alpine Energy is a member of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner and abides by its rules for the handling of disputes. If you feel that we have provided a poor service which you are unhappy with then you should contact us. Once your complaint is lodged, the procedure is as follows:

  1. We will notify you in writing that we have received your complaint and detail how the complaint will be dealt with.
  2. We are then required to reply to your complaint within 7 working days or else notify you that extra time is required to gather further information.
  3. If you are unhappy with our response or the complaint isn't resolved within 20 working days (or 40 working days where extra time has been required), then you have the right to take your complaint to the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner. Further information is available on their web site.  http://www.egcomplaints.co.nz/home.aspx

 

Power Faults / Outages

How do I report power faults?

If you have a power outage, contact us giving your name, address and a contact number. Briefly detail the problem and note anything unusual. We use an after-hours answering service and fault calls are referred to our on-call staff.

You have power poles on my land. Will you call me before entering?

Except where access to lines equipment is necessary due to an emergency situation, we are required to provide notification prior to entering your property. If we need to inspect or operate lines equipment then we’ll either provide verbal or written notification. In cases where we want to undertake construction, maintenance or repair of lines equipment then we will provide you with written notification. If in an emergency situation, it has not been possible to provide notification prior to entering your property then we are required to advise you of the details of the work carried out as soon as is reasonably practicable. If you have any questions or concerns regarding land access then you can contact us and ask to speak to Rex McDonald

How do I know if my street/area is due for a planned outage?

Alpine Energy will contact you, with at least 24 hours notice in the event of any planned outages for your street or suburb.

How do I hook up a generator while the power is out?

Connecting a generator to your house is dangerous without the correct plug/socket and changeover switch. Connecting a generator to your house without these means electricity feeds back into our lines and could cause electrocution to our workers. Consult your electrician on how to do this safely. You may plug your electric appliances directly into a generator.


 

Power Supply

How do I apply for electricity supply?

New Connection

Contact your electrician or contact us (and ask to speak to someone in New Connections) for a list of electrical contractors. They can talk you through the steps, supply a quote for the installation of your service cable and help you fill in a Network Connection Application. Once we have received an application form, we will contact you usually within 5 working days confirming your application. If your application is for a normal sized residential connection, we will confirm the connection details, outlaying any applicable costs usually within 5 working days. For larger or more complex projects the process can take up to 6 to 8 weeks. This allows us time for design approval and a tender to be let for the construction.

Re-connection

If you’re moving houses and the electricity supply has been disconnected at the new house then you’ll need to apply for a re-connection. Contact your chosen Electricity Retailer and arrange with them to have your power reconnected. Once they accept and arrange your account they’ll contact us and request a re-connection. We’ll then contact you and arrange a time to have your supply connected.

Which Electricity Retailers are operating in the Alpine Energy’s area?

Contact Energy - www.contactenergy.co.nz
Genesis Energy - www.genesisenergy.co.nz
Meridian Energy - www.meridianenergy.co.nz
Mighty River Power - www.mightyriverpower.co.nz
TrustPower - www.trustpower.co.nz

The Consumer Magazine has a comparison between retailer pricing options on their Power Switch web site: www.consumer.org.nz/powerswitch

Can I have the power lines outside my property put underground?

Yes, but this will be at your cost. You can contact your electrician to get advice and a quote.

I am thinking about putting a small generation unit in my house, what do I need to do and who should I speak with?

Please Contact Alpine Energy in the first instance to discuss your requirements and the relevant electrical standards.
More information on distributed generation can be found here


 

Charges

What are "line charges"?

There are costs involved in providing electricity to your home:

  • Firstly Generating Companies charge for the cost of generating the electricity.
  • Then Transpower charges for the Transmission of that electricity though it’s National Grid to one of the local Lines Companies Grid Exit Points.
  • The Lines Company then charges for the Distribution of the electricity through their Network to your home. These charges are known as Lines Charges.
  • The Retailer pays the Generator, Transpower and the Lines Company. These costs are recouped in the price they charge for electricity.

Who do I contact with a query on my Power Bill?

Your Electricity Retailer handles your billing. You will find their contact details on the Power Bill itself.

Who pays for repairs to my supply?

In general, the property owner becomes responsible for the service line at the point it crosses their boundary and the property owner is responsible for any costs involved with this part of the line. There are unique situations where this is not the case. If you require clarification as to your situation then feel free to contact us.


 

Contractors

Contractors – please ensure you have read and understand the Advice to All Contractors document before commencing any work: Safe Distances for Contractors

How do I locate underground cables before digging?

Alpine Energy will provide copies of plans for underground cables in roadways and footpaths. Note that there may be other cables and pipes in the area that are not the responsibility of Alpine Energy. To obtain cable plans we require a faxed or mailed document describing the area of interest along with a sketch of the area. You can use this template for faxing/mailing your request. If you require the cable locations to be marked please fill in the cable location request form and an Alpine Energy representative will contact you to ascertain you needs and arrange a suitable time to perform the marking.