Job cuts, relocations in Huntly shakeup
Hamilton will get 80 new office workers next year but up to 30 jobs could be lost from Huntly as state-owned Genesis Energy restructures power station operations in the town.
Staff were told this week it is planned to shift administration staff to Hamilton city in April and that plant operations jobs are changing.
It is understood staff have been told 20-30 jobs could go with the shakeup.
A company spokesman did not rule out this number, but said affected jobs could include outside contractors such as maintenance workers, cleaners, caterers and security officers.
"They will not be 20 to 30 Genesis staff."
The company was consulting operations staff and decisions would be made before Christmas.
The restructure had nothing to do with Genesis being on the Government's list for possible partial sale, he said.
Last month the company said it was fast-tracking its decision to mothball a second old coal-fired unit at Huntly by the end of the year.
At the time, the company did not rule out job losses as a result. About 120 people work in the plant side of the power station.
The spokesman yesterday said the decision to move out administration staff, most of whom had "nothing to do with the operation of the power station", followed a focus on health and safety at the plant, including a recent safety exercise.
It had become apparent that a large number of staff "didn't need to be there" and that there would be a large number of people to manage in the event of an emergency, he said.
Only one or two of the office staff who would be relocated lived in Huntly. Most lived in Hamilton, the spokesman said.
Genesis already has 400 or so staff in Hamilton spread across three buildings.
In the longer term the company would look for offices to accommodate all office staff under one roof, he said. Some administration jobs at Huntly may be relocated to Auckland.
The big changes at the power station follow major operating changes in the electricity generation sector.
The plant's aged coal and gas-fired units cost tens of millions of dollars to run and wholesale prices were soft relative to operating costs, the company said when announcing last month that the second of four units was being decommissioned.
In addition, demand for electricity had been flat for two years while lower-cost geothermal and wind generation had entered the market.
"The nature of the plant is changing in terms of operating requirements - the coal-fired units aren't even running this week," the spokesman said.
"We are forced to make very big commercial decisions [which] have flow-on effects on how we operate at Huntly."
The plan was to create a specialised operation at the power station, he said.
Huntly also has a 400 megawatt gas-fired turbine and a 48MW gas-fired unit.
Genesis has two hydro stations at Tekapo in the South Island and is investing $145- $155 million to enable it to generate electricity at both in the future.
The company made an after-tax profit of $104.5m for the June year, up 21 per cent on the previous year, and paid the Crown a dividend for the year of $114m.
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