New Zealand’s new Electricity Authority starts work


Carl Hansen,
Chief Executive,
Electricity Authority
New Zealand’s Electricity Authority came into existence as the country’s electricity market regulator on November 1, replacing the former Electricity Commission.

The chief executive of the Authority is Carl Hansen, who has been extensively involved in the evolution of the New Zealand electricity market as a senior executive and director, independent advisor and economist. For most of the past decade, he has been part of the market services company M-co, originally as chief economist and most recently as chief executive. He also worked for the Law and Economics Consulting Group where he provided strategic and regulatory advice to utility and infrastructure clients. Prior roles span a wide range of policy development and operations at the New Zealand Treasury and Reserve Bank, and undertaking policy analysis at the Business Roundtable.

The chair of the Authority’s five member board is Dr Brent Layton, a former senior fellow and chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER). He also chaired the Electricity Technical Advisory Group, which undertook the review of the electricity sector last year, and has just completed chairing the Electricity Authority Establishment Board, which has overseen the transition from the Electricity Commission to the Authority.

The other board members are Susan Paterson and Elena Trout who, along with Layton have been appointed for terms of five years, and David Bull and Roger Sowry, both of whom were Electricity Commission board members and have been appointed for 18 months.

Susan Paterson is deputy chair of Airways Corporation and Chair of Theta Systems. She has held directorships at Transpower, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), and Ngawha Generation, and has worked as project director for the Wholesale Electricity Market Development Group (WEMDG), which led to the establishment of the wholesale electricity market in 1996.

Elena Trout has extensive experience as a manager, project director, consultant, and company director, specializing in change management, asset management, contract procurement, and major project development and implementation. Her experience of New Zealand’s electricity sector and governance comes from almost six years as a director of Transpower. 

David Bull is experienced in central government processes and stakeholder and community relationships. His experience in the New Zealand electricity system includes 21 years as a power system engineer at the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) and predecessor organizations.
Roger Sowry, a former member of parliament, is a private consultant with Saunders Unsworth, specializing in the management of public policy issues.

The Electricity Authority is an independent Crown entity, with responsibility for promoting competition, reliable supply and efficient operation of New Zealand’s electricity market. Its key functions include:

  • Making and administering the rules governing the electricity industry through an Electricity Industry Participation Code
  • Monitoring compliance with the code and other provisions in the Electricity Industry Act and regulations and take enforcement action
  • Undertaking market facilitation measures such as education and providing guidelines, information and model arrangements
  • Industry and market monitoring, and carrying out reviews, studies and inquiries into matters relating to the industry, and
  • Contracting for market operation services and system operator services.