Expert reviewer appointed for independent review

18 May 2018

International engineering professional consulting firm, WSP, has been appointed to carry out the independent review of the state of the Aurora Energy electricity network.

The Board of Aurora Energy announced in March it would commission an independent review of the state of its network to provide a baseline assessment that can be shared and understood by all stakeholders, including customers, regulators, local councils and the communities that host the company’s assets.

Aurora Energy’s Chief Executive Richard Fletcher said: "We are pleased to appoint Peter Walshe of WSP to lead the independent review and be responsible for the findings. He will be supported by an experienced project team of electrical engineers and technical experts from both New Zealand and Australia.

"An electrical engineer by training, Peter has worked at a senior level within the electricity and gas supply industries. He has significant experience in utility regulation, particularly in relation to compliance monitoring and auditing.

"Peter and the WSP team have a good understanding of the local operating environment, having carried out asset condition assessment, asset management and design standards projects for a range of electricity distribution companies and other infrastructure owners throughout New Zealand, including the South Island.

"The review will be carried out in two stages; an initial desktop review of existing asset data followed by a more detailed assessment of assets, including physical inspections and testing in the field. Once complete, we will share the findings with stakeholders so that everyone has a common understanding of the state of the network.

"Aurora Energy has ensured that the Commerce Commission has been actively involved in the review, including agreeing the terms of reference and the appointment of WSP to carry out the work. The Commission will continue to participate in the review and have full access to the WSP team throughout both stages of the review process," said Mr Fletcher.

Aurora Energy Chair Steve Thompson noted that: "The independent review is a prudent response to the challenges Aurora Energy faces in operating an ageing network. It will also help shape future investment priorities in our major renewal programme planned over the next decade. This review, our ongoing business improvements and current investment plans are all focused on maintaining safe and reliable electricity services for our customers."

Further information on the independent review is available on Aurora Energy’s website here.