25 August 2020
WESCT Ownership Review
In September Waitomo Energy Services Customer Trust (WESCT) beneficiaries will be asked to vote on whether to continue with 100% WESCT ownership of The Lines Company.
If you are a TLC customer and receive a discount on your TLC invoice from WESCT, traditionally around Christmas or New Year, then you are a WESCT beneficiary.
The ownership structure is an important decision for beneficial customers of TLC. Information is available on the resources page of our website www.wesct.org.nz to assist eligible voters with the options available. A full report includes reports from the Trust, an independent consultant and the TLC Board. All three reports support retaining the present ownership structure.
Previous polls conducted in 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014 voted overwhelmingly (>90%) in favour of retaining the Customer Trust’s ownership structure.
The independent report concludes that WESCT ownership of The Lines Company is the best way to continue the existing arrangement of possible community benefits, with line charges lower than allowable by law, discount distributions to eligible customers, and local jobs for local people.
Alternative options available to vote on:
To transfer shares to eligible customers
Beneficial customers can sell their shares which leads to further fragmented ownership and may sell shares under their real value. A loss of control and the financial benefits to future generations if customers then sell their shares to parties outside the area.
To transfer shares to District Councils
Waitomo, Ōtorohanga and Taupō Councils would receive the share dividends, which are passed back through council activities. Councils can do as they wish with the shares unless specified otherwise in a deed of transfer.
To sell the shares and transfer sale proceeds to customers or District Councils
Funds into the community are short term, and the most likely buyers are from outside the area. Both of these options could reduce the size of TLC’s local operations with job losses, a reduction in local services, the depletion of the local community voice, and an increase in network charges.
Eligible voters will receive a voting form and further information in early September. The Trustees encourage you to read the information available, consider the options and use your vote.