6. MBIE's James Stevenson-Wallace appointed EA CEO

EA appoints MBIE energy boss.Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The Electricity Authority has appointed one of the government’s senior energy policy advisors as its new chief executive. Gavin Evans reports for BusinessDesk.

James Stevenson-Wallace is general manager of energy and resource markets at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. He is expected to take up his new role in September.

Authority chair Brent Layton said Stevenson-Wallace joins the organisation at an exciting and challenging time as the sector evolves and consumers face greater choice and control over how they engage with electricity.

“James is well placed to lead the organisation through this. He brings with him both a wealth of experience and knowledge of the New Zealand energy sector and a legacy of successful senior management in regulatory environments,” Layton said.

Stevenson-Wallace is one of seven general managers within MBIE’s building, resources and markets division. His unit oversees all aspects of energy and resources policy including mining and oil and gas exploration and development.

He joined MBIE in early 2014 and before that was director of fisheries management at the Ministry for Primary Industries. He has previous experience in private sector consulting roles and holds degrees in economics and management and a Master’s in Public Policy from Victoria University.

Stevenson-Wallace is replacing Carl Hansen who had run the Authority since it was established following the 2009 ministerial inquiry into the electricity industry.

He comes on board as the Authority continues its work on a beneficiary pays-based system for transmission pricing. Last month the authority said the work remains a priority and it is seeking further cost-benefit analysis to complete a final proposal for consultation.

The performance of the sector is also being reviewed by the Labour-led Government, in-line with its agreements with coalition partner NZ First and the Green Party. In April an eight-strong expert advisory panel was appointed to consider whether electricity is being delivered at a fair and equitable price and whether the current market and regulatory structures are suitable given the rapid uptake of technologies such as roof-top solar and batteries, electric vehicles and home energy management systems.

Hansen finished with the Authority on June 30. Corporate services general manager Androula Dometakis will continue to provide cover as acting chief executive Stevenson-Wallace joins the regulator.