Aurora Energy responds to Wanaka power situation

Sep 17, 2018

Crux published a story over the weekend highlighting the poor state of power lines that supply Wanaka with electricity. You can read the story here.

We've had a detailed response from Aurora Energy in Dunedin today and publish the full details here:

"Aurora Energy rejects claims that Wanaka’s power supply is “hanging by a thread” as alarmist.

To meet increased electricity demand in Wanaka due to local and visitor population growth, Aurora Energy is responding with a major upgrade to the electricity supply in the area.

Aurora Energy’s $9 million Wanaka upgrade project is planned for completion by the end of 2018.

Over the last year Aurora Energy has constructed a new substation on Riverbank Road on the outskirts of Wanaka to improve security of electricity supply and cater for growth in the town. Once complete, the new Riverbank Road substation will be able to reroute supply in the event of a fault. When needed, further upgrades at the Riverbank Road substation will meet growth in the area by supporting the capacity provided by the existing Wanaka substation.

Aurora Energy has also begun an assessment of longer-term supply options for Wanaka which is likely to include a staged rebuild of the lines that supply Wanaka to a new configuration.

For now, Wanaka is supplied by not one, but two high voltage lines that provide an enhanced level of reliability rather than a single line. In the rare event of a fault on one line, power can be restored within minutes, it is therefore alarmist to claim Wanaka’s power would be “cut by 50%” as the impact would be momentary. Once Riverbank Road substation is complete, security of supply will be further enhanced as the new configuration will provide a continued supply in the event of a fault.

We are certainly aware that some of the poles that carry the high voltage electricity to Wanaka are nearing the end of their useful life. We are systematically working our way through multi-year pole renewal programme across our network, and the poles on the Wanaka line will be replaced or strengthened as required as part of that programme.

Aurora Energy is making significant investment in Wanaka’s electricity supply and more is planned to ensure ongoing security of supply and reliability.

We want our customers in Wanaka and across the network to have confidence in what we are doing and have a clear understanding of the condition of our network assets and what this means.

Earlier this year, in conjunction with the Commerce Commission, we initiated a comprehensive, independent review of the current state of our network. The review by engineering consultants WSP Opus is part way through and due to be completed by the end of October. We have committed to make the findings publicly available after the report is complete.

On the issue of voltage dips or “brown outs”, these can occur on all electricity networks, and that is why all electricity providers advise customers to protect sensitive equipment such as computers and TVs using adequate surge protection devices.

Aurora Energy is a safety-first company and invites members of the public to report any specific concerns they have regarding its electricity network and to contact us directly so we can respond, either via our website or on freephone 0800 22 00 05."

Read: Commerce Commission takes Aurora Energy to court over service and maintenance failures.

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