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The EA Networks that we know today was established by proclamation in 1921 after a public petition to create a Power Board. The first board of directors was put in place in November 1921 and after their first meeting, in January 1922, began the process of formalising the structure and assets of the company. The Ashburton Electric Power Board (AEPB), as it was first known, started life as a privately-owned generator. The business grew through a variety of operating voltages which included 230 volts dc, 3.3kV, 6.6kV, 11kV, and latterly, 33kV ac. By March 1927 the AEPB had 2,804 consumers and a maximum demand of 1.2MW (by 2021 this had increased to 181MW).
During the 1970‘s irrigation demand caused growth to accelerate dramatically, expanding the 33kV sub-transmission network to all corners of the Ashburton District. A small hydro generator, Montalto, was then built during the early 1980‘s.
Electricity Ashburton Limited (as the AEPB became) introduced 22kV and 66kV as voltages on the network. A large capital works programme during the late 1990's and the early part of this century now has the majority of sub-transmission lines operating at 66kV and a significant portion of the distribution network operating at 22kV.
In 2008 Electricity Ashburton began developing a fibre optic network to establish robust communication links between the electricity network zone sub-stations. The EA Networks Board took the decision to expand the capacity of this network to allow residents and businesses on the fibre network route to connect to the network, allowing access to ultra-fast broadband and other services.
In 2012, Electricity Ashburton re-branded and took on the trading name 'EA Networks', better reflecting the variety of network services the business provided. As a business committed to keeping the lights on and the web connected for consumers throughout Mid Canterbury, EA Networks has continued to deliver world-class, reliable and resilient networks infrastructure to consumers in their homes, businesses and farms.
EA Networks now supplies electricity line services to more than 19,500 consumers using almost 3,000km of underground cables and overhead lines.