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Generating electricity for more than 50 years

At the start of the last century electricity was cutting edge, but has now become an integral part of everyday life. KCE has played a vital role in that journey, transforming the communities in our region through energy.

We’re focused on a bright future generating the electricity the wider community needs every day, with our vision focused on the following four key areas:

As part of supporting our local communities, KCE is a sponsor of the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter (servicing the Manawatu and Horowhenua regions). We’re proud to support these vital services, which help protect the health and wellbeing of the local communities for whom we generate power.

Historical timeline

1911: The benefits of lighting and motive power are well known nationwide. Some local businesses are generating electricity for their own use.

1921: Taumarunui votes for electricity. Local ratepayers are polled - 230 people want electricity and five vote against it. 

1924: The Piriaka power scheme is officially opened by Prime Minister William Massey in March. In November he opens Mangahao hydro in Shannon, the first North Island power station built by the government.

1925: Wairere Power Station in Aria is commissioned.

1938: A power board is formed to supply power to the outer areas of Taumarunui. 

1940s: King Country Electric Power Board is gazetted in 1940. It's officially established in some remote valleys with voluntary labour to help with construction.

1959: Electricity reticulation to the King Country district is finally completed. 

1962: Southern Lake Taupo is recognised as part of the district. Kuratau hydro station is constructed on the Kuratau River near Turangi, with a small storage lake of about 100 hectares.

1963: Mokauiti is commissioned in Aria. 

1981: Wairere G4 is added to improve efficiency and maximise the use of the river flow.

1992: Mangahao station is overhauled with three of the old Peltons replaced with a new Francis turbine. 

1990s: Government reforms lead to the disestablishment of Power Boards.

King Country Energy Ltd is formed and operated by a board of directors to oversee the management of the business. King Country Energy enters into a joint venture with Todd Mangahao Ltd in 1997 forms KCE Mangahao Ltd to purchase the Mangahao hydro generation assets near Shannon from the government.

1998: The Electricity Reform Act sees the separation of lines network operations from retail and generation functions. To be economically viable, King Country Energy Ltd and Waitomo Energy Company merge and then separate into a lines network (The Lines Company) and retail/generation operation (King Country Energy Ltd). 

2012: KCE buys out Todd Energy's share of Mangahao and becomes the sole owner.

2014: Wairere upgrade is complete with the three old turbines being replaced by a single new Francis turbine.

2015: Trustpower becomes a majority shareholder of King Country Energy.

2017: KCE signed an operation and maintenance contract with Trustpower. Trustpower operates all of KCE power stations.

2018: Trustpower and the King Country Electric Power Trust entered into an agreement to take over King Country Energy Ltd. King Country Energy's retail customers transfer to Trustpower and King Country Energy retains ownership of the generation assets.

2022: The Trustpower retail business was purchased by Mercury Energy and their Generation business became Manawa Energy (one of our shareholders). Manawa Energy will continue to be contracted as our asset manager.   

The King Country Trust (previously the King Country Electric Power Trust) updated their name and logo.

Present day: KCE owns four hydro power stations located within the King Country region, and one hydro power station near Shannon.

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