The electricity industry

How electricity reaches you

Orion is an electricity distribution business or lines company. Our part in the electricity industry is getting power from Grid Exit Points, GXPs and delivering it to where you need it.


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 can come from within distribution networks., for example many customers now have solar panels on their roof. 


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 GXPs to supply distribution networks like ours.

Local 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.

We are one of 29 mostly regional based electricity distribution networks in New Zealand. We also deliver the increasing amount of electricity generated within the network.  

Customer 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.

Electromagnetic fields

What are electromagnetic fields?

Low frequency electric and magnetic fields are invisible lines of force around any electrical device. They are around all wires that carry electricity. You would find them around your television, kettle, house wiring and also in the power lines and cables that supply power to your house. 

Mobile phones, photocopiers and some medical equipment also produce EMFs, but these emissions differ to those caused by electrical wires.

About electromagnetic fields

Electromagnetic fields from most home appliances are low, as they usually operate at low voltage. The solid objects in your home also shield or weaken electrical fields. For example, a typical house shields at least 90% of the electrical fields found outside. Magnetic fields are not necessarily shielded.

Generally,electromagnetic fields found within 30cms of a home electrical appliance exceed the electromagnetic field levels caused by power lines on a typical street.

More information about electromagnetic fields can be found in the Electric and magnetic fields and your health booklet(external link) from Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health.