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 2018 increase to $180. 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 Marlborough electricity consumers. We return benefits to electricity consumers via an annual discount payment.
Discounts are based on the revenue Marlborough Lines receives via energy retailers for line function services provided to installations during the year. We pay the discount to energy retailers who pass it on to consumers as a credit on their electricity accounts.
Each year we write to consumers advising them of the amount of their individual discount, and to which energy retailer it has been paid.
Since 1999 electricity consumers in Marlborough have received discounts totalling $131 million. Looking forward it is the intent of Marlborough Lines that these benefits will continue. 

Eligibility for Discounts

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.
The qualification date for the 2018 payment was 16 March 2018, the next qualification date is mid March 2019.

Discounts for Consumers on Low Fixed Charge Pricing Plans

The discount is a proportion of the total lines charges paid by each consumer.  Consumers who use less than 8,000kWh of electricity each year and elect to be supplied under the low fixed charge pricing plan option, pay less in line charges. Consequently they receive a lower discount.  This is not unique to people on the low fixed charge pricing plan, for example someone consuming 9,000kWh on a standard pricing plan will receive a lower discount than someone using 10,000kWh on a standard pricing plan.  The low fixed charge pricing option has a lower fixed (cents per day) charge, although the line charges for each unit of energy used (cents per kWh), are at a higher rate.

Common Questions on the Consumer Discount

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 Line Price Schedule effective from 1 June 2018.
Q. What is an installation?
Generally speaking, an installation is your premises or 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 usage at an installation rather than usage by a particular person or business?
A. Marlborough Lines has information on usage for all installations for the period the discount applies to.  Marlborough Lines gets information on the days each installation is occupied and usage at each installation.  This is the basis of lines charges and therefore the discount is paid on the same basis. 
Marlborough Lines does not have complete information as to who occupied installations during each year. Therefore we can not calculate accurately an individual’s usage across different installations during the applicable period.
The electricity system has generally been set up to track usage on an installation basis e.g. the electricity registry, which is the central information repository, does not hold customer details it only contains details of the installation. 
An example of this installation based system is when you move house. Even if you stay with the same retailer, you generally get a bill for the usage at your old property and then a separate bill for your new property even if your postal address is the same.
Q. What happens if I move immediately before the discount is paid out?
A. We acknowledge that 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?
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. 
If you still have questions our Customer Services team would be happy to assist and can be contacted on (03) 577 7007

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