Vector owns and operates the electricity distribution network in the greater Auckland region. Our network
extends from just north of Wellsford to Papakura in the south, covering the Auckland Central region, Waiheke Island, North Shore, Waitakere, Rodney, Manukau and parts of the Papakura region.
Industry structure and our role
Areas shaded green denote the parts of the industry that Vector operates in.
Our electricity network has provided Aucklanders with power since early last century under the names Mercury Energy, UnitedNetworks, and before that, as the Auckland and Waitemata Electric Power Boards. In 2002 Vector purchased UnitedNetworks, which operated the electricity distribution network in North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney District.
New Zealand's electricity industry has seen the most sweeping restructure of any industry in the developed world. The electricity supply chain had three main elements prior to the 1998 reforms.
- Generation - the government-owned Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) and Contact Energy controlled 80% of supply with 20% privately-owned.
- Transmission - the high-voltage lines and pylons of the national grid. Run by state-owned Transpower, they carry power from the generation plant to the towns and cities.
- Distribution - local integrated power companies had a dual role. They owned the lines in the streets and retailed power to customers. These were power boards until they were corporatised in the early 90s.
While earlier reforms had allowed power companies to compete for customers in others supply areas, competition was a reality only for larger commercial and industrial consumers. A key aim of the Electricity Industry Reform Act 1998 was to create a better deal for all consumers by increasing the opportunities for competition.
At the generation end of the supply chain, the reforms split ECNZ into three competing power companies, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Genesis Power.
At the distribution end, the reform act required integrated power companies to separate the ownership of their generation/retail (energy) businesses, which sell power, from their lines businesses, which deliver it. The intention was to allow energy companies to compete for all consumers in each network area.
The industry is now organised along functional lines with energy businesses producing and selling electricity to consumers, and the lines businesses (transmission and distribution) delivering it.