Improvements made to electricity network in Alexandra, more to come

07 Dec 2017

Recent power pole failures in Alexandra have highlighted the importance of Aurora Energy’s network renewal in the Central Otago town over the past year and its plans for more work over the coming months.

Aurora Energy Chair Steve Thompson said that significant progress had been made in the last 12 months to remove the risk of ageing power poles in Alexandra and more work is planned to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the electricity network.

“We take any pole failure seriously. Given recent events, Aurora Energy has taken urgent, additional steps to remove the remaining risk from poles nearing the end of their useful life in Alexandra, and these will commence immediately.

“Specifically we will:

  • Move additional pole inspection resource into the Alexandra area
  • Extend the scope of pole reinforcement in the urban areas of Alexandra to further accelerate removal of risk from ageing poles
  • Maintain the momentum of pole replacement in Alexandra by keeping on external crews into next year.

“The Aurora Energy network, the country’s fifth oldest by network asset age, is in a major phase of network renewal. In the past year, Aurora Energy has replaced, repaired or reassessed more than 4,300 poles.

“In the past year we have replaced 92 power poles in Alexandra and increased our pole inspection programme. Local residents will see the evidence, with many more new poles visible in the town.

“The Board is committed to continuing its renewal programme in Alexandra, and throughout its network, to remove the remaining risk from poles nearing the end of their useful life and do all that is practical to prevent further pole failures.

“We also recognise that the Aurora Energy electricity network is a large and complex asset, and while we have made rapid strides in the past 12 months, we are well aware we still have more work to do and we are doing it.”

Aurora Energy is planning to spend more than $720 million in the Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts over the next decade on maintenance and capital upgrades to ensure future safety and reliability. The bulk of the ten-year expenditure, $347 million, is allocated to asset renewal including poles, replacement of ageing subtransmission cables and an upgrade of overhead lines.