Full circle for Dunedin man

A Dunedin man is taking on one of South Canterbury's biggest jobs chief executive officer of Alpine Energy. Andrew Tombs, 43, will assume the chief executive job . . .

Full circle for Dunedin man

By FLEUR COGLE - The Timaru Herald
A Dunedin man is taking on one of South Canterbury's biggest jobs chief executive officer of Alpine Energy. Andrew Tombs, 43, will assume the chief executive job at a time when Alpine Energy is embarking on a significant upgrade of its infrastructure. Many of Alpine's assets its transformers, poles and conductors are nearing the end of their lifespans.

"It's a time when we have got quite a heavy spend ahead of us. [That] may seem quite strange at a time when people are talking about downturn," Mr Tombs said.
The work is unavoidable, however.

Alpine's acting chief executive Eoin Powell said decisions made by the company today would affect the reliability of electricity for future generations.
"The trouble with electricity is you can't just put something in the ground for tomorrow," Mr Powell said. Planning needed to take into account growth in five to 10 years.
A secure supply of electricity was necessary to ensure economic growth in the region and demand for electricity had increased, driven by the irrigation and dairy industries.
Transpower, which owns the country's transmission grid, is investigating what development needs to happen in the Lower Waitaki area, while Alpine has already started building a new grid exit point at Bells Pond the point where the company accesses electricity from Transpower to improve the security of supply in the lower Waitaki area.
Alpine Energy chairman Ian Bowen said the company undertook an extensive national search to find a replacement for former chief executive Greg Skelton, who left earlier this year.
Mr Tombs had the capability to managing the company's capital expenditure programme, Mr Bowen said.
Mr Tombs has been managing Powerco/Tenix Alliance and Tenix Alliance NZ, from just outside Auckland, but his experience within the electricity industry has taken him over the North Island.
The move to Timaru will bring him back to the South Island, something the Dunedin-born man said created "a sense of a full circle for me".
His career started at Dunedin Electricity, and he has worked for Transpower, Unison Networks, Otago Power and most recently Tenix Alliance.
"I'm proud and very much looking forward to be part of an organisation that has such a rich and deep heritage. I'm also looking forward to building on Alpine's solid performance to date and securing value for future generations of Alpine consumers and stakeholders."
Small centre enthusiasm and spirit was another attraction of the job, Mr Tombs said. He had appreciated and admired the Taranaki "hard core, go the `Naki' spirit" alive in that region when he lived there, and looked forward to working in another area where community pride was strong.
"I'm looking forward to that provincial attitude."
Mr Tombs spent time last Friday meeting staff at Alpine Energy and will take over the job on July 20.
The move to the South Island also puts him closer to his family.
His mother was "over the moon" about the move, he said.