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Energy trusts fighting to keep lines companies in community hands
November 12, 2018
Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust

Hawke's Bay Power Consumers' Trust cheques move to direct credit option

Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust
Hawke's Bay Power Consumers' Trust chairwoman Diana Kirton says a direct credit system is on the cards for the annual distribution cheques.

Hawke's Bay Power Consumers' Trust distribution cheques may become a thing of the past as early as this year, says Trust chairwoman Diana Kirton. The trust is currently going through a process of moving to a direct credit system of distributing the annual dividend it receives from Unison.

Each year, hundreds of consumers miss out by not cashing in their annual "power cheque". Since cheques were issued last September, about 95 per cent have been presented. "Our strong sense is a lot of people are finding it less convenient to go in to a bank." Kirton said it is about giving consumers the choice. "The trust realises that cheques are on their way out and a direct credit system is the way of the future. We want a system where power consumers can easily identify what account they want their dividend automatically paid into.”However, people could choose to remain with the current system of receiving a cheque in the post. "This gives everyone the choice of what they wish to do with their cheque. It's your cheque, your choice," Kirton said.

Two system providers have been identified and they are working on proposals to present to trustees over the next few months. Earlier investigations by the trust showed that introducing a system is an expensive process and the changes will need to be paid for from trust funds. However, it was also evident that the more people who choose this option, the lower the proportional cost. Diana said they hoped the savings in printing and postage will balance out the cost of a direct credit system. "There is also a huge human resource cost involved in the current cheque distribution. "Banks experience long cheques and many challenges at cheque time. These challenges are also faced by Unison and BWR administration staff. "I know they will all welcome this change to a direct credit option. "The trust will be doing all it can in the coming months to ensure the process is up and running for the 2019 distribution. When it does happen, we will advertise it widely and encourage as many people to opt into it as possible." Updates on progress will be available on the Trust website, www.hbpct.co.nz, as soon as a provider is selected.