Payments to consumers on Marlborough Lines' network

Network Discount

How is it calculated?      It is calculated based on the revenue that Marlborough Lines receives from an Installation Connection Point (ICP) during the year from 1 February until 31 January. For an average residential consumer this amount will currently be around $225.
Qualification date   Currently around mid March each year. The ICP must be actively connected and not vacant at the qualification date. The discount is not paid to those ICPs located in remote areas as they are uneconomic to supply.
How is is paid?   It is paid as a credit to your electricity account that your retailer provides. The amount would typically show up in your April invoice.
What to consider?   If you are selling your house you may want to consider making some form of arrangement in your sale and purchase agreement. However note that the amount is not calculated until March.

Trust Distribution

How is it calculated?      Marlborough Lines pays a dividend to the Marlborough Electric Power Trust (MEPT) and the MEPT then determines an amount to be paid to each of its beneficiaries (the ICPs connected to the Marlborough Lines network).
Qualification date   Currently around mid January each year. The ICP must be actively connected and not vacant at the qualification date. The distribution is paid to all ICPs, including those in remote areas. 
How is is paid?   It is paid as a credit to your electricity account that your retailer provides. The amount is expected to show up in your February invoice.
What to consider?   If you are selling your house you may want to consider making some form of arrangement in your sale and purchase agreement. However note that the amount is not confirmed until January. 


  • Previously the Trust distribution was $50. The increased cash flows provided by Yealands saw the distribution made in 2019 increase to $185. The timing of the payment was also changed from December to now be in February.
  • Marlborough Lines does not have complete information on who occupies each installation during the year and therefore cannot allocate the amount of discount to different occupiers.
  • The Trust distribution is paid to the occupier of the installation at the date of qualification. It is similar to that of a dividend of a normal shareholder in that it is paid to the holder of that share at a certain point in time. Previous occupancy doesn't entitle the previous owner to this distribution.  

Network Discounts

The Marlborough Electric Power Trust holds all of the shares in Marlborough Lines for the collective benefit of electricity consumers connected to the Marlborough Lines network. Marlborough Lines returns benefits to eligible electricity consumers via an annual discount payment.
Discount paymers are based on the revenue Marlborough Lines receives via energy retailers for line function services provided to installations (i.e. consumers) during the year. We pay the discount to energy retailers who pass it on to eligible consumers as a credit on their electricity accounts.
Each year we write to eligible consumers advising them of the amount of their individual discount, and to which energy retailer it has been paid.
Since 1999 eligible electricity consumers in Marlborough have received discounts totalling $140 million. Looking forward it is the intent of Marlborough Lines that these benefits will continue. 

Eligibility for Discount Payment

Electricity consumers with Installation Connection Points (ICPs) are eligible for a discount upon all of the following criteria being satisfied:
  1. The ICP must be connected at some stage, from 1 February to 31 January.
  2. The ICP must be non-remote by location, as designated by the attached map (476kb). Remote locations are not economic to supply and are therefore not eligible for a discount.
  3. The ICP must be connected with a consumer on the qualification date.  The qualification date is set by Marlborough Lines, and is typically in mid-March of each year.  The March qualification date ensures that discounts credited to energy retailers are accurate and appropriately managed for all consumers alike.

Discounts for Consumers on Low Fixed Charge Pricing Plans

Consumers who use less electricity than the amount of an average domestic consumer (8,000kWh), and elect to be supplied under the low user tariff option, pay less in line charges. Consequently they receive a lower discount as the discount is a proportion of what is paid in line charges.  The low user tariff option has a lower fixed (cents per day) charge, although the line charges for each unit of energy used are at a higher rate.

Common Questions regarding the discount payment

Q. How is the discount paid?
The discount is paid to your electricity retailer as at the qualification date in March each year.  Your retailer then passes on the discount amount to you as a credit to your electricity account.  We make the payments in this manner because you pay the Marlborough Lines portion of your electricity bill to your electricity retailer.
Q. When can I expect to receive the discount?
The discount is paid to your current electricity retailer at the end of March and you can expect to see it appear as a credit on your electricity account from early April onwards. The exact date that the discount will appear on your account will vary according to your retailer’s billing cycle. 
Q. How is the discount calculated?
A. The discount is related to the line charge revenue Marlborough Lines receives, via your electricity retailer, for each individual installation. The minimum discount rates payable for the year to March 2018 are shown on the attached Delivery Price Schedule, available on our website, effective from 1 April 2018.
Q. What is an installation?
Generally speaking, an installation is your premises point of electricity supply. You would typically receive a separate account for each installation that you have.

Q. Why is the discount calculated on the basis of installation usage rather than users' usage?
A. Information available to us from the retailer does not allow us to track individual electricity user usage over time where electricity users have moved from one installation to another. The information available to us to determine discount payments is the installation address and the line charge revenue received from each installation and therefore the fairest method of calculating usage is on a per installation basis.

Q. What happens if I move immediately before the discount is paid out?
A. There are sometimes problems with 'cut off dates’ for payments of this kind. Unfortunately we cannot avoid these and do our best to tell people well in advance of the coming discount to enable them to make their own arrangements where possible. If you are changing address around the time of the discount payment we suggest that you consider coming to some arrangement with the new occupiers. For example you could put a provision in your Sale and Purchase Agreement for the appropriate discount payment to be forwarded to you. As we are not able to advise the actual level of discount until towards the end of March we suggest that any such provision should provide for the discount to be allocated on a ‘days of occupancy’ basis or similar.
Q. Who can help if I have queries about my discount?
A. Marlborough Lines calculates the discount for each user based on information provided by the energy retailer. The discount is then paid by Marlborough Lines to the energy retailer to credit to your account. If after you have received your discount you consider the amount is incorrect you should contact Marlborough Lines.

Q. I own multiple properties - will they each receive a discount?
A. If each of your properties has a separate point of supply i.e. you receive separate electricity accounts for each of them, you should receive an appropriate discount for each property. You should receive a letter from Marlborough Lines indicating the amount of discount paid for each of your properties.
Q. What happens to the discount if the electricity account was not in my name eg. a flatting situation?
A. As the discount must be paid as a credit to the electricity account for your installation we are not in a position to determine monies payable to individuals. The onus is therefore on you to recover the proportion of the discount that you believe is due to you.  One way to do this would be to come to a prior arrangement with the person whose name the flat account is held in.
Q. Why is the postal address on my discount letter incorrect?
A. Marlborough Lines receives customer address information from Electricity Retailers who have the direct contractual relationship with electricity consumers.  Please keep your Electricity Retailer informed of your correct postal information.  This will ensure that future correspondence from Marlborough Lines such as discount letters, our customer newsletter “Connections” and notices about shutdown of supply are sent to your correct postal address.
Q. Why is Marlborough Lines paying a discount rather than a dividend?
A. The discount policy continues to be endorsed by the trustees of the company.  Payment of a discount enables Marlborough Lines to pass on maximum benefit to its electricity users in an equitable and straightforward manner. 
Q. Why is the electricity user discount paid at the end of March?
A. The Price Schedule provides the minimum discount levels payable in the current year.  However it is possible that Marlborough Lines may elect to make payments higher than those stated in the price schedule.  As the Company has an annual 31 March balance date, in March we are best positioned to determine the overall level of funding that can be allocated to the electricity users’ discount.
Q. Why is the discount paid to my retailer and not directly to me? 
A.You as an electricity consumer have a contract with your energy retailer rather than MLL.
MLL’s contractual relationship is with the electricity retailers to which it supplies line services.
The discount is a reduction in the price that MLL has charged the retailers for line services.  As such the discount needs to be applied in the same way as the initial line services were charged, i.e through your retailer.

MLL has made sure that their contract with all retailers on the Network requires them to pass on the discounts to consumers.
If payments were made directly to consumers;
  • there would be additional administration costs, and
  • the payment would have a different status for tax purposes. 
This would reduce the benefit that consumers would receive.

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