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The Electricity Industry

In over 125 years of change in the electricity industry, our engineers have played a central role in New Zealand's economic and social development. Now electricity is vital to modern work, home and leisure life throughout New Zealand, from farm machinery to computers and cell phones.

New Zealand's electricity supply industry will continue to develop to meet the new challenges of climate change, smart grids that can adapt to rapidly changing customer demand response while maximising service, reliability and efficiency.

The electricity industry is also engaged in developing the next generation of engineers. People that have the breadth and diversity of technology skills and knowledge to deliver the New Zealand’s future electricity needs.

The electricity supply industry in a few key figures

New Zealand is leading at the 9th rank out of 125 countries in the Energy Trilemma Index developed by the World Energy Council. Its strongest position in the trilemma is in energy security, through a continuing diversification of the electricity mix among other key actions.

Energy demand

The NZ final consumer energy demand was covered in 2014 by 44% by oil, 25% by electricity and 15% by gas. Electricity consumption in 2015 was mostly industrial (37%), followed by residential (32%) and commercial (24%) demand. Demand levels have been reasonably flat over the past decade.


42,928 GWh of electricity were generated in New Zealand in 2015, with a 20-year record percentage of renewable electricity generation of 80.7% (57% hydro, 17% geothermal, 5% wind). New Zealand is committed to reach a government target of 90% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2025.


The national grid consists of over 11,000 km of transmission lines…

  • … including 610 km for the HVDC Inter-Island link, of which 38 km are submarine cables under Cook Strait
  • 38,000 towers and poles
  • 169 substations


Regional networks consists of over 150,000 km of distribution lines, 27% of which are underground.

  • 30,000 distribution substations
  • 185,000 distribution transformers
  • 211,000 distribution switchgears


The number of switches to different retailers was at its highest in 2015, with close to 420,000 switches.

As of 2015, 66% of all meters in New Zealand are smart meters.

Useful links and references
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