COVID-19 update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop and for now, the way we live, work and play has changed significantly. Our thoughts go out to the communities already affected.

Right now, the Authority is focused on what is most essential – for consumers, for the sector and the market, and for ensuring we look after our staff and their families. We are currently operating as close to normal as possible, with our staff working from their homes.

The move to Alert level 4 will impact when and how people consume electricity. A secure and reliable supply of electricity is essential. The Authority is working closely with agencies and industry to give ongoing certainty during this extraordinary time.


Our priority during COVID-19 is consumers

The Authority is aware that participants are working hard to ensure they can continue to supply services to their customers at this challenging time. Our priority is ensuring the market continues to deliver for consumers. 

Monitoring the supply and reliability of electricity

We are in close contact with government and industry to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the electricity industry and consumers. We have increased our focus on monitoring, ensuring we understand exactly what is occurring in the market, so we can respond if needed.

We are working with Transpower, in their role as System Operator, as they ensure the secure and reliable electricity supply during the current Alert level 4 restrictions.

As well as keeping the machinery of the market going, we are getting assurances from the market operation service providers on how their business continuity plans are operating in practice. We are also testing continuity with other critical providers such as generators and distributors.


Providing electricity to consumers

The Authority is closely monitoring any impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on retailers and we have established processes to help consumers if there are any disruptions to a retailer’s ability to provide their service. Electricity retailers and network companies have plans in place to continue to provide electricity to homes.

If you are having trouble paying your electricity bill, please talk directly with your provider, as some are providing different payment options during the lockdown period.


Medically dependent and vulnerable customers

There are existing guidelines for retailers on the supply and reliability of electricity to help protect medically dependent and vulnerable customers.

 

Complying with The Code

We are aware that some participants may face challenges in complying with some of their obligations at this time. Compliance with the Code is critical to ensure the market operates smoothly and the Authority expects that participants will continue to endeavour to meet their obligations. However, the Authority will take a pragmatic approach. If any participants have genuine concerns about their ability to meet any specific obligation, they should contact the Authority directly to discuss their circumstances.

We are still delivering but have reprioritised

We are focusing on our key priorities and redeploying resources to ensure we continue to operate and deliver our core functions.

We are continuing to make progress on key work, including major work streams where it is important to provide certainty to the sector as soon as possible, ie, the investigation into an undesirable trading situation (UTS), the review of the transmission pricing methodology (TPM), and the review of enduring market making arrangements. We are in the process of reprioritising the rest of our work programme and will publish an update once we’ve agreed on what projects to pause while New Zealand responds to COVID-19.

We are actively seeking to reduce our impact on stakeholders during the lockdown period to give you more time to focus on your customers, your people and priorities for your own organisations.


Keep in touch with us

This page will be the main source of public information from the Electricity Authority during the lockdown period. We’ll update this page regularly and will share key information our social channels Twitter and LinkedIn so please keep checking in.

We encourage you to keep in regular contact with us, send your emails to communuications@ea.govt.nz.

The Government’s website www.covid19.govt.nz has the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be kind, stay home and save lives.

Kia kaha