Short Circuit novem be r / d ec em b er 2 0 1 3
Advice to members
Tracey Gordon, ATS Energy Account Manager
The damaging gales left some customers on the Canterbury network without power for up to five days or more in following the storm last month. More than ever before the outages highlighted again the need for a backup plan for your business. While some farmers have this in place there were a few failures. Some people had not properly maintained generators and fired them up through the year to Tracey Gordon make sure they were running properly. Having a plan in place for future outage is vitally important to the running of your business and the health and welfare of your stock, as there are no guarantees when the power will be restored.
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Switching power Competition between power companies is once again being highlighted by the Power Switch campaign. There have been a number of people questioning this as they have been quoted rates then billed something different. This has seen the number of complaints at the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commission increase two-fold. There are a number of things to consider before changing companies and it is best not to sign any contract without thoroughly going through it. Call ATS Energy and we can take you through any of these offers and help you understand what it will mean to you. Be aware there are other rates and discounts we can offer our members not usually known by door knockers or telemarketers. Meter reads The recent damage to irrigators has seen a number have power switched off for repairs, but advanced metering systems for these require mains power to remain on so retailers can obtain meter reads. Should the mains power have to be shut off for safety reasons, or because use of the system is not required for some time, the farms’ electricity retailer needs to be notified. A simple call to ATS Energy on 0800 289 287 will ensure the retailer is notified. For any questions or problems about your energy needs call Tracey today on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287). SHORT CIRCUIT | november / december 2013
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The Meridian share offer has been floated and inevitably a number of commentaries made around this float in the wake of the MRP debacle. Meridian’s earnings are the most volatile of the generators due to its dependence on the rain to fill the lakes. Meridian can hedge this risk, but politics could be the bigger threat to Meridian, as they can’t hedge a change in government or electricity policy. Another issue is a decline in the electricity demand in New Zealand, with a 2.5 per cent drop last year, and industrial demand falling for a decade. Competition from other energy sources has exacerbated the impact of the decline on generators, and an awareness of the cost savings to be made from being energy efficient also have an effect on the demand. It has been said that New Zealand needs electricity innovators to bring New Zealand in line with the global power trends, and not the current “milk your assets for all they are worth” approach.
Information taken from NZX Energy DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this information is to outline historic data and is intended for general reference only
LPG a real energy option for Plains.
More and more South Islanders are becoming aware of an alternative energy option that their North Island cousins have been familiar with for years. That is the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). It has established itself as the fastest growing energy option for New Zealand households and businesses, growing at a rate of 7% a year, and accounting for over 180,000t of consumption a year. Unlike natural gas which is piped directly through the North Island gas network, LPG is available in the South Island thanks to its liquid form. This enables it to be bottled, stored and transported as such, and burnt as a vapour for use in cooking, water heating and home heating. As a liquid form LPG is around 250 times denser than when it is a gas, making it a relatively energy dense fuel that can be stored in relatively small volumes. Its industrial applications are also growing as a viable replacement fuel for dirtier burning options like coal, in uses including industrial boilers and heating systems. The Maui gas field off the Taranaki coast was for many years the main source of supply for NZ’s LPG market, and instrumental in cementing the gas as a viable option even as a transport fuel after the fuel crisis of the 1970s. At the time of its discovery the Maui field was the sixth largest in the western world, and only the second commercially viable field to be discovered in New Zealand. Maui was superseded by the Kupe field which in turn has been overtaken by the enormous Pohokura field that accounts for 42% of the country’s gas production. It is in part due to this field the future of gas supply in New Zealand appears very secure, with potential to supply up to 200,000t a year. A lack of South Island gas fields has not inhibited growth in the use of LPG, and interest from rural users in Canterbury has been growing as an option for heating. Michael Keen, Retail Manager for ATS partner Arthur Cates in Ashburton says greater interest is coming from rural users in using bottled LPG for water heating in farm houses and workers’ accommodation. “We have been having a number of hot water cylinder issues through Mid Canterbury. I am not sure if it is to do with the temperature that cylinders sit at and the combination of copper and minerals in the water, but corrosion is a very big problem, often only within a year.” 2
While gas heating facilities have copper in them also, the corrosion problems are not experienced, and Michael suspects this is because the water is not sitting in the pipes for any measurable period compared to a cylinder. He first used gas heated hot water himself at a camping ground and promptly put in a system of his own. He has also noticed increased interest among dairy farm operators for battery powered LPG Califont water heaters. Running with batteries as a power supply they are capable of heating water at least 25degC over ambient temperature, and are ideal for heating water being used to mix milk powder for calf feeding. “They crank out the water and only use power when you need them, and are very efficient.” Michael says aside from reduced corrosion risk using LPG water heating, more farmers are opting for such systems in new farm houses built specifically for staff. The systems can handle the concentrated heavy water demand that comes from staff all washing up at the day’s end. Bottled LPG also provides a good back up source of energy should electricity supplies fail due to storms and outages, an all too frequent issue in past months. Another more recent arrival to the LPG supply scene in Canterbury is Nova Energy. As part of the company’s work to expand across LPG and electricity supplies it has also developed a supply partnership with ATS. The company sources all its LPG from a number of Taranaki gas fields including McKee and Pohokura. Marketing Manager Michael O’Donnell says the ideal time to consider installing LPG as an energy source is during the building process. The company has a strong network of advisors throughout the region able to help rural users analyse the costs and benefits of LPG applications both for housing and in farm dairy situations in new and existing structures. “We can easily compare LPG as an option for them against other energy sources and calculate where the costs and benefits lie.” Tracey Gordon, ATS Energy Account Manager, says the fact two gas suppliers were alongside ATS was a good sign for LPG’s future on the Canterbury Plains. To learn more about LPG contact Tracey on 0800 BUY ATS (289 287).
SHORT CIRCUIT | NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013