Power use is likely to steadily increase in South Canterbury, as more industrial projects come on to the grid.
South Canterbury lines company Alpine Energy reported a distribution level of 750 gigawatt hours for the year-ended March, 5.96 per cent up from 708GWh the previous year.
Chief executive Andrew Tombs said the company predicted even further increased usage for the coming year.
"Last year's increase was mostly down to a much drier-than-normal summer, which meant irrigation use was well up," Mr Tombs said.
"But we're likely to see household usage steadily increase - a lot of the new gadgets consume a lot of energy."
Mt Cook Alpine Salmon's processing plant in Washdyke and the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group's dairy factory in Glenavy were just two examples of high users coming online in the next few months, Mr Tombs said.
"Over the next 10 years, we estimate our capital expenditure will be about $90 million, and our operational expenditure about $54m ."
"We expect the next couple of years to be topping $14m a year in expenditure on new infrastructure, but after that, most years will be steady about $8m.
"You need to upgrade the system every 50 or so years. Once this is done, we expect expenditure to return to normal."
Upcoming projects included the $3.5m Bells Pond to Cooney Rd 33kV power line (constructed at 110kV) and the $2.8m substation and reticulation equipment for the dairy factory at Glenavy.
Alpine Energy is jointly owned by the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie district councils and the South Canterbury lines trust.
The Commerce Commission allowed it to increase its annual lines charges by 11 per cent - about an extra $50 per customer - for the coming financial year, after it reviewed its pricing structure.
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