Media Releases & News

Independent Review - 2018

21 November 2018
Aurora Energy commissioned an independent review of the state of its electricity network in March 2018. A comprehensive assessment of the status of the network is shared below.

The full report of the independent engineering review by WSP was published in November 2018 and found most of Aurora Energy’s assets pose a low risk to public safety, reliability or the environment.

Independent review findings

Independent reviewer

The independent reviewer was WSP, one of the world's leading professional engineering consulting firms, operating as WSP OPUS in New Zealand.


The independent review included an initial desktop review of existing asset data followed by a more detailed assessment of assets including physical inspections and sample testing in the field. 

The insights from the review confirmed our understanding of the priority areas for investment and helped inform our 2018 Asset Management Plan, which sets out our network investment plans for the next ten years.

Scope of independent review

The key objectives of the independent review were to:

  1. Establish the current state of the Aurora Energy network; and
  2. Having established the state of the network, determine the resulting risk to consumers and the communities that host our assets.

The review had a consumer focus in respect of public safety, reliability, resilience, environmental risk, post-fault restoration times, future planned outage volumes, investment, and the likely timeframes for addressing identified risks.

Key aspects of the review included:

  • Identifying Aurora Energy’s critical assets and their underlying physical condition
  • Assessing Aurora Energy’s understanding of the performance and health of its assets
  • Identifying potential and probable failure modes, and the underlying potential consequence of failure of critical and other assets
  • Assessing the extent to which network assets are constructed to appropriate design standards
  • Considering the extent to which network topology mitigates (or otherwise) the risk of service failure in significant urban areas of the network, and in rural zones
  • Estimating the overall risk profile for the Aurora Energy network.

Note. The final terms of reference for the review saw the work split into two phases.

Phase 1 was an initial desktop review of available asset related data.

Phase 2, from July to October, involved a comprehensive programme of on-site inspection and data collection and verification. WSP proposed a revised schedule for Phase 2 to accommodate an expanded work programme.

WSP provided Aurora Energy and the Commerce Commission with interim feedback at the end of August 2018, its top level findings at the end of October 2018 and full report in November 2018.

Review timings

Here are the indicative timings for the independent review.

March 2018 – Independent review announced - WSP Australia / Opus (complete)

April 2018 – Scope developed in consultation with Commerce Commission (complete)

May 2018 – Independent reviewer appointed (complete)

May / June 2018 – Review commenced – Phase 1 desktop data assessment (complete)

July-October 2018 – Phase 2 - Independent review – on-site inspections / testing / analysis (complete)

31 August 2018 – Draft independent review complete for Aurora Energy and Commerce Commission feedback (complete)

19 October 2018 – 2018 Asset Management Plan published (complete)

31 October 2018 – Top-level findings from reviewer released (complete)

21 November 2018 - Final report of independent review released (complete)

20 December 2018 - Aurora Energy response to final report of independent review published (complete)

November/December (target) 2018 – Aurora Energy engagement with stakeholders to discuss and explain the company’s plans.

Impact on Aurora Energy's 2018 Asset Management Plan

This year, the findings of the independent review of the company’s network assets were an important input (reference point) into the company’s 2018 asset management plan (2018 AMP). In light of the revised timings of the review, and the obvious benefits of being able to incorporate emerging review findings into our 2018 AMP, we agreed a revised date for submitting our 2018 AMP of 19 October. Both our 2018 AMP and the final findings from the independent review have been made publicly available to all of our interested stakeholders.