Aurora apologises for unplanned power outages

by Kim Bowden - Feb 10, 2022

Aurora Energy is apologising to Central Otago customers for a series of surprise power outages in the last week, while some Wānaka households are still waiting for power to come back on.

Operations and network performance boss Matt Settle says several unrelated faults have resulted in customers being impacted by unplanned power outages at various times. 

Last night a fault with a transformer in Wānaka left a number of customers in the dark.

This is still being investigated and Aurora hopes to have power restored today.

It’s the latest in a run of outages as the electricity provider works to upgrade its network, and Aurora sought to explain each of them in a statement today.

“Late last week one of the main power lines that supplies the area had a planned outage to keep our contractors safe while they were replacing power poles.

“Unfortunately, the second line tripped and the team responded as quickly as possible to get power back on for our customers.

“The cause was not immediately obvious but was ultimately tracked down to a defective insulator that has now been replaced.”

The company is grateful for contractors who respond around the clock and work hard to get power back on as quickly as possible, Mr Settle says.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had a number of outages in the same area over a short timeframe and apologise to our customers for the inconvenience we know this caused them.”

Another outage happened earlier this week when electrical circuits were being reconfigured and the line tripped, following a new insulator being installed.

This event is being investigated as Aurora’s operational response didn’t cut the mustard - outages could have been avoided, Mr Settle says.

Aurora Energy has a five-year work programme to invest in upgrades to the electricity network in Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes and Dunedin, after a history of under-investment.

In early March a project to replace four power poles, two cross arms and various protection equipment in the Pisa Moorings and Lowburn area will help improve the quality of electricity supply.

Some customers will have a planned outage while this work is being carried out and will receive notification closer to the time.

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