Certificate of compliance
Control period demand charge
Electricity Act 1992
Electricity Complaints Commission
Electricity Governance Regulations and Rules
Electricity distribution network
Grid exit point (GXP)
Grid injection point (GIP)
ICP (Installation control point)
Longest daily shed duration
Network connection point (NCP)
Network construction contractor
Orion authorised contractor
Orion livening agent
Peak delivery charge
Ripple control system
In the context of new connections to Orion's network or upgrades to existing connections, an architect designs the building for which the new connection or upgrade is required. An architect does not usually design the electrical reticulation associated with the building, but can act as a consultant to the customer.
Equipment or plant that is part of the Orion electricity distribution network.
Disused or under-utilised industrial or commercial land and facilities that may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution and have the potential to be reused once cleaned up (remediated).
Registered electrical workers must audit their own work and fill out a certificate of compliance as proof that they have complied with electrical safety standards and codes. A customer should request the COC from their electrical contractor when work is completed. We will need to see the COC before we can connect the electrical installation to our network.
Overhead lines which can be covered (insulated) or bare (not insulated) and underground cables which are insulated. Both of which are used to convey electricity.
A point at which Orion's network connects to a customer's electrical system.
In the context of new connections to Orion's network or upgrades to existing connections, a consultant is any person or organisation who the customer engages to advise on the design and/or construction of a new connection or an upgrade to an existing connection. A consultant may also facilitate the design, application or upgrade of the connection.
An electricity user.
The electrical energy consumed by a 1,000 watt (1 kilowatt) appliance in an hour is one kilowatt-hour (kWh). A kilowatt hour is also known as a 'unit of electricity' and is the unit in which retail sales of electricity are measured.
The electrical water heating load which Orion is able to switch off for short periods when the electrical loading on Orion's network is high, or when faults or emergencies happen on our network.
The ripple signalled peak pricing period for major customer connections.
A charge incurred by a major customer based on the customer's average electricity loading during control periods.
A person whose premises are connected to Orion's network and who receives electricity through the network.
Electricity conveyed over both Orion's network and also Transpower's transmission grid (ie both 'transmission' and 'distribution')
In the context of new connections to Orion's network or upgrades to existing connections, a designer designs the connection or upgrade. Design proposals for a typical simple urban residential connection may be sketched in freehand by any applicant. More complex designs must be drawn and dimensioned with either manual draughting instruments or preferably with CAD technology. All designs must meet Orion's published design standards and any statutory requirements. The designer is responsible for ensuring the final plans meet all design requirements.
A distributed generator, also known as an 'embedded generator', is a generator located at a home or business which is capable of generating electricity for that home or business's own use. It may also be capable of putting surplus generation back into the distribution network.
Electricity conveyed over Orion's network from bulk points of supply (grid exit points) to individual homes and businesses
A major building substation and/or switchyard where voltage is transformed from 66 or 33 kilovolts (kV) to 11kV, two or more incoming 11kV feeders from a grid exit point are redistributed or a ripple injection plant is installed.
A device that changes voltage to a higher voltage or a lower voltage.
Also called lines companies, network companies or distribution companies, distributors such as Orion own and operate the lower voltage power lines and distribution networks in local areas. These connect to the national grid to deliver electricity to homes and businesses.
In the context of new connections to Orion's network or upgrades to existing connections, an electrical contractor is a person or organisation contracted by either the customer, or the customer's consultant, to install part or all of the works required to achieve the new or upgraded electricity supply. This work generally involves low voltage construction on the customer's property.
The Act, as amended by later Acts, that regulates the New Zealand electricity industry.
The Electricity Authority is established under the Electricity Act 1992 to oversee the governance, operation and development of the New Zealand electricity industry.
The Electricity Complaints Commission provides consumers with a free and independent dispute resolution service for complaints about their electricity distributor or retailer. It is separate from the Electricity Commission.
The Electricity Governance Regulations and Rules (EGRs) govern how the electricity market has operated since 1 March 2004.
An electrical inspector holds an electrical inspector's licence and inspects mains installations prior to livening to see whether the installations comply with relevant regulations and codes of practice. Some inspectors are authorised by various electricity retailers to install meters and ripple signalling equipment on their behalf. Some inspectors are authorised by Orion to connect and liven complying installations on Orion's network.
The system of lower voltage power lines, cables and other equipment in a local area that is used to carry electricity from the national grid to homes and businesses.
An electricity retailer (sometimes referred to as a 'power company') purchases electricity from the wholesale market to sell to residential and business users. The electricity retailers that operate in central Canterbury are listed on the Electricity retailers page.
An embedded generator, also known as a 'distributed generator', is a generator located at a home or business which is capable of generating electricity for that home or business's own use. It may also be capable of putting surplus generation back into Orion's network.
Electricity flowing from a customer's electrical system into Orion's network, usually as a result of distributed generation.
A feeder is a physical grouping of conductors that originates at a district substation and supplies a number of consumers.
Most business and residential connections on Orion's network are classified as 'general connections'. Other categories of connection include major customer connections and some irrigator connections.
Equipment/machinery which produces electricity. 'Generator' is also a name sometimes given to generation companies.
A generation company, also known as a 'generator', produces electricity which can be sold into the wholesale electricity market for supply to electricity retailers. Several private and Government owned companies are generators - they include Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Todd Energy and TrustPower. Most generators are also electricity retailers.
In the context of load management, this is a ripple signalled period during which Orion has pre-arranged to pay the owners/operators of some embedded generators for running their generators during that period. This signal is operated at Orion's discretion and is not directly linked to other load management activities.
Greenfield land is undeveloped land in a city or rural area either used for agriculture, landscape design, or left to evolve naturally. These areas of land are usually agricultural or amenity properties being considered for urban development.
Transpower's transmission network of high voltage power lines and tall towers that connects to the power stations to send electricity around the country. It is also referred to as the 'national grid'.
A point where Orion's network is connected to Transpower's transmission network and where electricity flows out of the national grid to Orion's network.
A point of connection where electricity flows into the national grid from generating stations.
The point at which a retailer is deemed to supply electricity to its customer. Each ICP is assigned a unique number. ICP numbers are shown on all electricity accounts.
A kilowatt-hour is also known as a unit of electricity and is the basis of retail sales of electricity.
Also called network companies, distribution companies or distributors, lines companies such as Orion own and operate the lower voltage power lines and distribution networks in local areas. These connect to the national grid to deliver electricity to homes and businesses.
When a connection is 'livened', electricity can flow from the electricity distribution network to the connection.
In the context of load management, the load limit is the total network load that Orion's load management system attempts to achieve by shedding and restoring controllable loads.
Orion manages load on its network by switching some load off (usually electric hot water heaters) during times of high or 'peak' electrical demand and then turning that load back on when load levels drop.
The lines, cables and substations used by distributors such as Orion to transport electricity from grid exit points (GXPs) to consumers such as homes and businesses. Also known as a distribution network or electricity distribution network.
In the context of 'load management', longest daily shed duration is provided as a measure against Orion's service level targets for residential water heating. Under load management, Orion aims to switch hot water cylinders off for no longer than a target maximum.
As electricity travels through the national grid and local networks, a portion of energy is lost as heat due to the resistance in the lines. The greater the distance the electricity travels and the lower the voltage on the line, the higher the losses are.
The cable or line between the electricity distribution network and the customer's premises.
Orion generally classifies businesses with maximum electrical demands above 300kVA as major customer connections. Where the loading level is between 250kVA and 300kVA the customer (or their retailer) may elect to be classified as a major customer connection. This compares to the maximum demand of a typical house of about 10kVA. For major customer connections we apply a specific set of prices that more closely reflects each customer's load and loading patterns.
The maximum demand for electricity on Orion's network over a year.
One megawatt-hour is equal to 1,000 kilowatt-hours. Megawatt-hours are the standard metering unit for the wholesale market.
Equipment that measures electricity quantity, usually in kilowatt-hours.
The national transmission grid of high voltage power lines and tall towers that connects to power stations to send electricity around the country. It is also known as the 'grid' and is owned by state-owned enterprise, Transpower.
A network (also called an electricity distribution network) is the lower voltage power lines and other assets in a local area which are used to carry electricity from the national grid to homes and businesses.
A point at which Orion's network connects to a customer's electrical installation. This is usually at the customer's property boundary. It is sometimes on the exterior of a building. The customer is responsible for the electrical installation on the premises side of the NCP. Orion is responsible for equipment on the other side of the NCP.
A network construction contractor is usually contracted by a customer to construct a network extension. This may include both high and low voltage construction on the customer's property and in the road reserve. The contractor may not be authorised to connect either the network extension, or the customer's service main, to Orion's existing network.
An addition to or enhancement of the existing Orion network, for example, a new line or cable.
A building substation which is part of the 11kV network and which protects cables and overhead lines.
An electrical or network construction contractor who is authorised by Orion, based on competence, to connect either the customer's service main or a network extension to Orion's existing network.
An electrical or network construction contractor who is authorised by Orion, based on competence, to connect either the customer's service main, or the network extension, to Orion's existing network and liven the installation.
An interruption to electricity supply. Also referred to as a power cut.
A peak period is the ripple signalled high pricing period for general connections, when the Orion network is heavily loaded.
A charge to retailers based on the total of their consumers' average loading during the full real-time half-hours that occur within all signalled peak periods during our winter season (May to August).
In the context of a new connection to Orion's network, a person or organisation who the customer contracts to manage the connection process. A project manager may also be an individual who works for an organisation, who manages only the organisation's portion of the connection process.
The process of matching the electricity supplied to customers by individual retailers with actual demand at a grid exit point (GXP).
In the context of load management, the estimated load that would be added if all controlled load currently switched off was switched back on.
See electricity retailer.
A system used to control the electrical load on the network by, for example, switching load such as domestic water heaters off, or signalling to large users that they are in a high price period (thereby encouraging them to use as little power as possible during that time).
A signal injected into an electricity distribution network which a receiver can pick up and which does not affect customers' other appliances.
Orion's rural network covers all areas other than Christchurch city and includes rural towns.
In the context of load management, the estimated controllable load available to be switched off.
In the context of load management, the proportion of controllable load that is currently switched off.
Electrical installations that are enclosed in a building or structure and that are used to transform, distribute or transmit electricity.
Electricity conveyed over Transpower's transmission grid from generators to points of connection with local distribution networks (grid exit points)
The state owned enterprise that operates New Zealand's transmission network. Transpower delivers electricity from generators to various electricity distribution networks around the country.
In the context of load management, uncontrolled load is our estimate of the loading level that would have occurred if we had not controlled any load.
Orion's urban network largely covers Christchurch city.
A term used to refer principally to the spot market through which all electricity flowing on the grid is traded. Spot market participants offer to generate and bid to take demand on a half hourly basis for every half hour. The market rules specify how generation is to be dispatched and how spot prices are to be calculated.
In order to make it easier for you to find answers to your questions, we have grouped the Frequently Asked Questions into these sections: