There’s good news for all power consumers connected to Unison Network Limited. The annual dividend payment from the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers’ Trust (HBPCT) will increase by 10% to $220 this year, up from the $200 payment in 2017.
Trust Chair, Diana Kirton, said that the Trustees have shown a strong commitment to return as much of the annual dividend as possible directly back to the power consumer. Our aim is to see this return increase gradually in future years.
The HBPCT holds the shares in Unison Network Ltd (UNL) on behalf of the consumer shareholders. Each year the Trust receives a dividend payment from Unison based on the annual profit of the company.
“The company has returned a $15.4million dividend to the Trust this year. This means the direct financial benefits consumers have received from Trust ownership since 1999 will be more than $172 million. Hawke’s Bay power consumers have told us very clearly they want the dividend distributed directly back to them and this is what we are doing,” Diana said.
The cut-off date for determining who is eligible for a payment is 30th September 2018. All those who are connected to the network on that date will receive one payment per connection, with a maximum of three payments for any one customer. “Every year there is a handful of customers affected by this date. Some people commence a new connection within days of the cut-off and therefore are not eligible to receive a payment. For others it works in their favour,” Diana said.
Cheques will be posted out in batches commencing the week of 17th November.
This will be the last year that cheques are the only means of dividend payment. Trustees have recently explored the option of distributing the dividend by direct credit to bank accounts. The cost involved in setting up and maintaining this facility is considerable and will have to be met out of Trust funds. Trustees will be consulting with consumers on this option in time for the 2019 distribution to ensure this is understood.
The Trust is currently redeveloping its website to provide easier access to the public. Trustees will use the website as a means of communicating with consumers and consulting with them on matters such as dividend distribution and future use of Trust funds. They acknowledge that not all consumers have access to the internet, so paper-based consultation will also be provided.