TECT to proceed with changes to the trust

TECT received 791 submissions about the proposed changes to the trust during the consultation process. Supplied image.

Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust will proceed with changes to the structure of the Trust, following a month-long consultation period with its beneficiaries.

The changes and consultation followed Trustpower's announcement in January that it was undertaking a strategic review of its retail business, including a possible sale.

A sale of Trustpower's retail business to a third party would mean that TECT beneficiaries would no longer be Trustpower's 53,000 Tauranga and Western Bay local retail customers.

Instead, TECT's beneficiaries would only be a small number of larger commercial electricity users that will remain customers of the Trustpower Generation business.

The proposal that was consulted on balances the protection of the annual TECT rebate for existing beneficiaries with the purposes for which TECT was established, while providing long-term benefit for everyone in Tauranga and the Western Bay.

TECT chair Bill Holland says 791 written submissions were received during the consultation period, and 32 of these were heard during the oral hearing that took place on March 25.

'After a comprehensive consultation process, trustees have reviewed all the feedback and have today adopted a final proposal for changes to the Trust.

'Approximately two-thirds of submissions received were supportive of the changes in the proposal and its focus on protecting the rebate, which is very encouraging and has given us the confidence to proceed to the next stage in the process.”

He says as a result of the deliberations, trustees are satisfied that the proposal that was consulted on is the best solution to take forward.

'We know how important TECT is to the Tauranga and Western Bay communities and it has been heartening to see the level of engagement from beneficiaries over the last month.

'We are confident that the final proposal will ensure that TECT will continue to bring long-lasting benefits to the Tauranga and Western Bay communities while future-proofing the rebate for existing beneficiaries,” says Bill.

Trustees will now make an application to the High Court for directions confirming the validity of the trustees' decision. The restructure will only take effect if the High Court makes those directions.

As part of the court process, the trustees will ask that an independent QC be appointed to assist the court in scrutinising whether trustees are exercising their powers in an appropriate way.

Once this application has been filed, TECT will send a notice to all beneficiaries outlining the next steps in the court process. All beneficiaries will have the right to participate in the High Court process and have their views heard, including by formally opposing the application should they wish to do so.

Beneficiaries wishing to participate in the High Court process are encouraged to seek legal advice.

For more information on the proposal and changes that were consulted on, please visit www.tect.org.nz.


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