We’ve completed a major upgrade to electricity capacity for Omakau and the surrounding areas of Chatto Creek, Ophir, Ida Valley, Poolburn, Lauder, Becks and St Bathans to cater for increasing electricity demand now and into the future.

Project status: in progress, completed July 2016, except for Omakau substation

In August 2015 a series of seven projects commenced to ensure reliable electricity supplies to homes, farms and businesses. Key projects included building a new, higher-capacity substation north-east of Omakau and upgrading the overhead line crossing the Manuherikia River.

Why was the upgrade needed?

Electricity demand in the Manuherikia and Ida Valleys has increased as irrigation use has grown. We needed to increase the capacity of the network to continue to deliver reliable electricity to all consumers and enable the connection of new irrigation.

Upgrade projects

The Omakau and Surrounds Upgrade consisted of seven projects. The work was scheduled in two stages to occur outside the summer irrigation seasons. The combined project value is close to $6 million.

Omakau Overview Map webOmakau Map web

1. Huddleston Road new overhead line

(completed Oct 2015)

We built a new 11,000 volt (or 11kV) overhead line along Huddleston Road to increase capacity to the area north west of Omakau and provide an alternate means of supplying consumers. The new 2.3 kilometre line is located in road reserve and new concrete poles were installed.

2. Omakau – Becks voltage upgrade

(completed Nov 2015)

We upgraded the voltage on the Omakau to Becks overhead line from 11,000 volts (or 11kV) to 33,000 volts (or 33kV). We are also carried out some maintenance work including replacement of existing power poles with new ones.

3. Ida Valley overhead line upgrade

(completed Oct 2015)

We replaced the overhead line supplying the Ida Valley to increase electricity capacity. The upgrade also prevents the voltage drop that can occur during periods of high demand. The majority of existing poles have been re-used and a small number of new poles have been installed.

4. Poolburn voltage regulators

(completed Oct 2015)

As electricity use increases or decreases, the voltage can also vary. We have installed new voltage regulators at Poolburn to monitor and control voltage so that it stays within acceptable limits. By installing voltage regulators, the full capacity of the overhead line that travels from Omakau over the hill to Poolburn can be used.

5. Manuherikia River crossing and Omakau underground cable

(completed Nov 2015)

We’ve upgraded the overhead line crossing the Manuherikia River and installed high-capacity underground cables through the Omakau Township, along State Highway 85. These changes were required to connect the new Omakau substation to the network.

We also relocated the existing overhead line crossing the river and replaced it with a new higher-capacity 33,000 volt (or 33kV) and 11,000 volt (or 11kV) overhead line alongside the Omakau bridge, on the upstream side. The existing overhead line crossing the river has been removed. At the same time, we also installed a new 11kV cable in a steel conduit attached to the upstream side of the road bridge.

From the Omakau side of the bridge, the new 33kV line has been cabled underground through the Omakau township alongside State Highway 85 to the new Omakau substation site. The underground cable has been installed in a trench.

6. New Lauder Flat substation

(completed Nov 2015)

We have built a new substation in road reserve off Lauder Flat Road to supply electricity to the St Bathans, Becks and Lauder areas that were originally supplied by the Omakau substation. When required, the new substation will also supply the Drybread, Matakanui and Omakau areas. The new substation can take 33,000 volt (or 33kV) electricity and convert it to 11,000 volts (or 11kV) for distribution via feeders to local transformers that convert it further to 230 volts for use in the home and on the farm. The substation is relatively small, consisting of a single transformer in a small fenced area with a single overhead line entering and leaving the substation.

7. New Omakau substation

(on hold)

Omakau and surrounds are now supplied by both the new Lauder Flat 33/11kV substation and the existing Omakau Substation. In the future a new substation will be constructed 1.2km north of Omakau (at a new site beside the Omakau stockyards) to replace the existing Omakau substation. The upgrades already completed by this project will enable us to build the new substation with minimal disruption to local residents. The existing Omakau substation (located on the Ida Valley-Omakau Road) has reached capacity and is on a flood-prone site. The new Omakau substation will supply electricity to surrounding areas from Chatto Creek to St Bathans. It will take 33,000 volt (or 33kV) electricity and convert it to 11,000 volts (or 11kV) for distribution via feeders to local transformers that convert it further to 230 volts for use in the home and on farm.

Omakau Now and After

How is electricity supplied to Omakau and surrounds?

Electricity is transported from generation sources (such as hydro power stations and wind farms), across the national grid transmission system to the local distribution network, then on to consumers. To supply power to Omakau and surrounds from Chatto Creek to St Bathans, including the Ida and Manuherikia Valleys, Aurora Energy takes high voltage electricity from the Alexandra substation to the Omakau substation. There it is converted from 33,000 volts (or 33kV) to a lower voltage of 11,000 volts (11kV). The power is then distributed out around the area to local transformers that convert it further to 230 volts for use in the home and on farm.

Omakau and surrounds are now supplied by both the new Lauder Flat 33/11kV substation and the existing Omakau Substation. In the future a new substation will be constructed 1.2km north of Omakau to replace the existing Omakau substation. The upgrades already completed by this project will enable us to build the new substation with minimal disruption to local residents.

What if I’m planning new irrigation?

Building power lines, laying high voltage cable and purchasing transformers takes time. If you are planning to increase your electricity connection capacity or add new connections, the earlier we know what your electricity requirements will be, the earlier we are able to incorporate your new demand into our network planning. For enquiries regarding new electricity connections for irrigation in Central Otago, please contact Aurora Energy on 0800 22 00 05.

Indicative project timeline

Omakau Timeline

More information

We welcome your feedback. For more information, please contact Project Manager Niel Frear on 0800 22 00 05.