Alpine Energy

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FAQs

What area does Alpine Energy service?

We provide an electricity service to 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?

We are 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 our network are beneficiaries of LinesTrust South Canterbury.

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

There are four different types of organisations which 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: sell you the electricity and conduct meter reading.

Do you have opportunities for students to gain work experience?

We  usually look 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. We are 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:

  • We will notify you in writing that we have received your complaint and detail how the complaint will be dealt with.
  • 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.

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 website  www.egcomplaints.co.nz

How do I report power faults?

If you have a power outage you can call us 03 687 43700 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 can also complete an online faults reporting form.

Power poles on private 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. You can call us on 03 687 4300 to discuss.

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

We'll contact you by a notification in your mailbox 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.

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 us in the first instance to discuss your requirements and the relevant electrical standards.

What are line charges?

There are costs involved in providing electricity to your home:

  • Firstly power generating companies charge for the cost of generating the electricity.
  • Then Transpower charges for the transmission of that electricity though its 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.

How do I locate underground cables before digging?

Please refer to our section on digging.