EA Networks

Most of us take simple things, like being able to flick on a light switch or boil a jug, for granted. But from these small, every day things right through to making sure street lights come on at night, 24/7 electricity is humming away behind the scenes, keeping our district powered up and connected.

Did you know that the electricity network in Ashburton district is 3074 kilometres long? In our district, EA Networks looks after this network and its fibre optic communications network. The company is a co-operatively owned business, where residents that are connected to the local electricity distribution system, automatically become shareholders in the company. Whenever a resident disconnects from the EA Networks power network or moves away from the district, they can have their shares refunded.

Ashburton District Council holds 28,750,000 of the 30,069,100 shares in EA Networks with the rest of the shares belonging to residents. As part of being a shareholder in the company, you receive a vote to elect a member to the EA Networks Shareholders Committee.

The duties of those on the Shareholders Committee include appointing the Directors of Electricity Ashburton, reviewing the performance of EA Networks in line with its annual Statement of Corporate Intent, and reporting the company’s performance to shareholders.

Council directly appoints three out of the seven members on the Shareholders Committee. I would like to congratulate David Ward on his recent reappointment for another three-year term as one of the Council appointees. David has been a member of the Shareholders Committee since 2006 and offers a vast amount of knowledge and experience. He runs a farm near Fairton with his wife Hilary and together they won the Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award at the 2017 Deer Industry Environmental Awards.

The other two Council appointees on the committee are well-known local businesspeople Anne Marett and Chris Robertson. Anne was appointed in 2013 and is the director of Croys Chartered Accountants. She is also the chair of the Netball Mainland board and previously worked as a registered nurse. Chris was appointed in 2004 and is a partner at law firm Russell Moon & Fail. He is also involved with several other community organisations in the district.

Council’s involvement in appointing three of the members to the Shareholders Committee contributes to our community outcomes of a thriving and diverse local economy, where the infrastructure and services meet current and foreseeable future needs; and an involved community with quality leadership, where we work together with government, community organisations and the private sector to promote our community interest.

The four other members are elected by the shareholders and are currently Ian Cullimore (Chairman), Jeanette Maxwell, Alister Lilley and Robert Newlands. The Council appointments are staggered throughout each three-year term to ensure there is continuity on the committee.

The relationship between Council and EA Networks extends much further into the community. As many of you will know, EA Networks are the naming sponsor of the EA Networks Centre, after contributing $1 million to the cost of the facility. The contribution from them was important in helping meet the community target of raising $5 million to go towards the overall cost.  

The company also provides schools in the district with fibre optic, ultra-fast broadband internet to ensure all our tamariki have access to online education tools.

The EA Networks AGM for shareholders is being held next Wednesday 29 August at the Hotel Ashburton on Racecourse Road from 5.30pm. I encourage everyone that is interested to head along to the meeting to hear about the past year in business, what has been achieved, and what will be happening in our district over the next year. If you are unable to go, but still want to vote at the AGM, you can download a proxy voting form from the EA Networks website to ensure your vote is counted.

​I would like to thank EA Networks for its ongoing support and valuable contributions to our community, and offer my ​congratulations for another successful year in business.

Page reviewed: 26 Sep 2018 12:40pm