The Government’s proposed partial privatisation of Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis Energy has focused attention on the ownership of our State-owned electricity generation companies. The majority of New Zealanders oppose the likelihood of such vital national infrastructure going into foreign ownership.
But what about the State-owned company which “owns” the South Island power grid? Does Transpower actually own that?
Members of the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) will be asking that at Transpower’s Annual Public Meeting at the George Hotel, Christchurch, at 4 p.m. Thursday October 18th (the CAFCA banner will be displayed outside the venue from 3.30 p.m.).
Here’s what we know about the ownership of the South Island grid. Excuse us if the explanation is complex; that’s because the deal was deliberately structured to be complex.
In 2003 Transpower sold the South Island grid and leased it back.
That meant that Transpower is the operator (not the owner) of the South Island grid.
During the early days of the current global financial crisis, Wachovia was taken over by Wells Fargo, another American bank.
Transpower’s 2012 Financial Report states that, in November 2009, Transpower partially terminated the cross-border lease over the South Island grid. However, that same Financial Report contains material which suggests that the cross-border lease is continuing.
The effect of the cross border lease was to duplicate ownership of the grid, so that ownership could be claimed in the United States as well as in New Zealand.
We call upon Transpower to explain:
· What is meant by partial termination of the lease?
· Can any US organisation still claim today that it owns the South Island grid? Yes or no?