Aurora Energy is carrying out a major upgrade to electricity supply for Wanaka. We’re building a new switching substation to improve the reliability of electricity supplies to homes, farms and businesses. The project includes building a new substation on the corner of Riverbank and Ballantyne Roads, installing a new underground cable to connect to the existing Wanaka substation and upgrading the overhead line along Riverbank Road.


New poles being installed for final stage of Wanaka electricity upgrade. Click here to read story. 


Riverbank 1

Project status: in progress, construction due for completion November 2018

Why is the upgrade needed?

Electricity demand in Wanaka has increased in line with its growing population. We need to increase the capacity of the network to continue to deliver reliable electricity to all customers and connect supply to new residential housing and businesses. The Wanaka Upgrade is part of Aurora Energy’s major network development programme. 

How is electricity supplied to Wanaka?

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 Wanaka and the Upper Clutha, including the Cardrona Valley, Aurora Energy takes high voltage electricity from the Cromwell substation to the Wanaka substation. There it is converted from 66kV to a lower voltage of 33kV to supply the Camp Hill and Cardrona substations and to 11kV to supply Wanaka locally. The power is distributed out around the area to local transformers that convert it further to 230 volts for use in the home, on farm and in businesses.

Once the new Riverbank Road substation is complete, it will supply the Wanaka substation at 66kV. The Wanaka substation will continue to supply the Camp Hill substation at 33kV and the Wanaka area at 11kV.


Riverbank diagram before

Riverbank diagram after

Upgrade projects

The Wanaka Upgrade consists of three projects over eight months, constructed from October 2017 to November 2018. The combined project value is estimated at $9 million.

Riverbank diagram map

1. Riverbank Road switching station

(construction started October 2017, major works now complete)

Aurora Energy is building a new switching substation on the corner of Riverbank and Ballantyne Roads, opposite Wanaka Wastebusters. The new substation will take 66,000 volt (or 66kV) electricity from the national grid at Cromwell and control the supply to the Wanaka and Cardrona substations. The new substation will provide a hub for the high voltage supply into Wanaka and surrounding areas, will add capacity to the existing Wanaka substation and be able to reroute supply in the event of a fault. Queenstown Lakes District Council approved the designation for the new substation in 2013. Traffic management will be in place during construction. No power outages are required for this work.

2. New underground cable Ballantyne Road to Wanaka substation (66 and 11kV)

(planned construction October 2017 - February 2018)

From the new Riverbank road substation, a new 66kV underground cable will be installed along Ballantyne Road to the Wanaka substation. The underground cable will be installed in a trench and then back filled with the existing surface restored. Traffic management will be in place temporarily when we work along Ballantyne Road.

3. Overhead line upgrade along Riverbank Road (66kV)

(planned construction October 2017 - November 2018)

We’re upgrading the overhead power lines along the west side of Riverbank Road between Ballantyne Road and State Highway 6 from 33,000 volts (or 33kV) to 66,000 volts (or 66kV). The existing 16 poles will be replaced by 12 taller poles of approximately 17 metres in height. The extra height is needed to provide safe clearance for the higher voltage lines. We will also convert the existing overhead service lines that cross over the road to supply houses on the east side of the road to underground cables.

We considered installing the new 66kV supply underground. Due to the type of soil in Riverbank Road, a high voltage underground cable in this location could not be adequately protected against the risk of lightning strike, so an overhead line was the only suitable option.

The route and design of the 66kV overhead line was selected taking into account safety, environmental, maintenance and security of supply requirements. The 1.2 kilometre line will run north along Riverbank Road from the intersection at Ballantyne Road.

The existing power poles at the intersection of Ballantyne and Riverbank Roads, will be moved and new poles will be installed to guide the overhead lines into the new substation. In some locations, the existing overhead lines will have an additional conductor installed above to protect the line against lightning strike. Once the new Riverbank Road Substation is commissioned, the existing overhead line through the Three Parks development will be removed.

Traffic management will be in place temporarily when we work along Riverbank Road. 

Will construction affect residents?

There will be minimal disruption to residents during construction. Traffic management will be in place at some work sites to ensure the safety of you and our contractors. Construction will involve trench digging and cable-laying, plus work on overhead lines including installing new poles along Riverbank Road. Individual property owners will be notified if construction work is likely to directly affect them.

What electricity outages are planned?

For the safety of our contractors, we’ll need to turn the power off when we switch the 11kV and 33kV supply from the existing overhead lines to the new underground cables.

Closer to the time of planned outage, you will receive individual notification via your electricity retailer advising the specific date and time. If you have any concerns regarding this outage, please contact Aurora Energy on 0800 22 00 05.

Indicative project timeline

Construction should be completed by the end of November 2018 and commissioning will start thereafter.

Thank you

We thank the local community for their understanding as we carry out this improvement work and apologise in advance for any inconvenience and disruption that may be caused.

More information and feedback

We welcome your feedback. For more information, please contact Project Manager Craig Thompson on
0800 22 00 05 or