Media Releases & News

Big Day Out

18 November 2021
Aurora Energy’s ‘Big Day Out’ required a power outage for up to 10 hours for around 1,500 customers on Wednesday.

This was to complete a large programme of work on the electricity network that supplies Albert Town, Camp Hill, Hāwea Flat, Lake Hāwea and Makarora.

Aurora Energy Chief Executive Richard Fletcher said, “The whole Aurora Energy team and our delivery partners would like extend a big thank you to all our customers for their patience and understanding while we completed this major programme of renewal work to strengthen the local electricity network. We realise that being without electricity for a whole day is a major inconvenience but by coordinating a number of teams to do work across a number of locations at the same time, it significantly reduces the overall number of planned outages for customers”.

Aurora Energy worked with contractors to carry out some work prior to the power being switched off, which meant the power wasn’t off for longer than it needed to be. This included pre-digging pole holes where possible, planning live line work in some areas to reduce the number of customers impacted, and arranging to back feed supplies from other areas where this was feasible, meaning the Hāwea Flat School and Albert Town commercial area did not need their power switched off.

To minimise the impact on customers and acknowledge that more customers than usual had their power turned off, Aurora Energy generated the Lake Hāwea Community Centre for the duration of the power outage, and offered services to locals including toilets, coffee/tea, access to the hot water, including fridges for storage and medicine, WIFI, and charging options for phones/devices. A café in Makarora was also generated, with similar services on offer.

The Lake Hāwea Community Centre kitchen was also a hive of activity, with volunteers preparing lunch packs for the contractors that were dropped around the local area.

Aurora Energy had a team set up outside the community centre in Hāwea for the day, alongside the local Civil Defence Emergency Management team, who took up the opportunity to talk about local hazards, planning for emergencies and what you can do at home to prepare.

“A number of locals dropped in to say hi, and many arrived at the Community Centre library space with their laptops so they could work remotely for the day,” Dr Fletcher said.

Multiple contractors, including Delta Dunedin and Delta Central Otago, were engaged for this coordinated project. Delta and Connetics were the main contractors for this project, with sub-contractors ElectroNet, NES and CPI also working hard to upgrade the electricity network and get power restored as quickly as possible.

Delta Chief Executive Mike Costelloe said the coordinated effort enabled an efficient and solution-focused approach.

“We’re really pleased with the contribution our teams have made to the success of the Big Day Out.  From the preparation work of the Wānaka crew to delivery on the day by all our crews and subcontractors, a great collaborative effort.”

Works included:

  • Replacement of 29 power poles
  • Replace of 21 cross arms
  • Maintenance on Camp Hill and Wānaka zone substations
  • Maintenance on equipment for Hāwea
  • Installation of new switch gear for Longview Subdivision


Photo shows Delta staff in PPE gear working on power lines and poles with Central Otago mountain in the background
Big Day Out Delta
Photo of people at the community centre library working at laptops
Working remotely at the Lake Hāwea Community Centre library space
Lake Hāwea Community Centre kitchen a hive of activity, with volunteers preparing lunch packs for the contractors
Lake Hāwea Community Centre kitchen a hive of activity, with volunteers preparing lunch packs for the contractors

Community spokesperson (if you’d like to contact them for a quote):

Lake Hāwea Community Centre

André Meyer – President

[email protected]

027 883 3119

For further information contact Aurora Energy External Relations Team, [email protected] or 03 742 0931

Aurora Energy is New Zealand’s seventh largest electricity network by customer connections, supplying electricity to 92,000 homes, farms and businesses in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. Aurora Energy Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dunedin City Holdings Limited, owned by the Dunedin City Council.