Industry structure

Elec industry diagram

How electricity reaches you

Orion is an electricity distribution business or lines company. We are responsible for the third of four steps involved in getting power from where it’s created to where you need it. Those four steps are:

1.   Generation

The main power generation businesses in New Zealand are: Meridian Energy, Contact Energy, Genesis Power, Manawa Energy and Todd Energy. Most of New Zealand’s electricity generation is hydro, with the balance from geothermal, gas, and coal oil-fired thermal stations, bio-mass plants and wind farms. Increasingly, generation comes from within distribution networks. For example many customers now have solar panels on their roof. 

2.  Transmission

Transpower, a state-owned enterprise, owns and operates the national electricity grid, which comprises switchgear, high voltage cables and pylons for transmitting high voltage electricity from generators to more than 150 Grid Exit Points (GXPs) to supply distribution networks like Orion’s.

3.  Distribution

Electricity distribution businesses like Orion develop and maintain local networks for the safe and efficient delivery of power to homes and businesses. We take the power at GXPs and progressively lower the voltage as we route it through our network of underground cables and overhead lines to customers. Orion is one of 29 mostly regional based electricity distribution networks in New Zealand. We also deliver the increasing amount of electricity generated within the network.  

4.  Retail

Retail companies purchase electricity from the wholesale market and sell it to their business and residential customers. In Orion’s network area, about 28% of a residential customer’s power bill covers the cost of distribution and about 13% covers Transpower’s component for managing the national grid. Here are the electricity retailers operating in the Orion network area.

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