Caption: The electricity network between Deborah Bay and Aramoana will be upgraded by Aurora Energy
The work, which starts this Wednesday, is part of a major programme to upgrade the electricity network in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes by Aurora Energy. Three contractors, Delta, Unison and Connetics, have been engaged to minimise the number of times the power needs to be out for customers through multiple jobs being completed at the same time.
Aurora Energy General Manager Work Programming and Delivery Mark Pratt said reducing the impact on customers is critical when planning major projects.
“Where possible we bundle our work in one area and deliver it over a shorter timeframe. Customers will still get some power outages while the upgrades are done, however the number of times they will have their power out is less than if the work was done over a longer timeframe,” he said.
The upgrade will replace 48 power poles, 77 crossarms and 7.7km of power lines between Deborah Bay and Aramoana, and an old section of the network that is no longer used will be removed.
“We also plan to replace some electrical switches and high voltage isolation links, which means if we do need to turn the power out in the future, smaller areas and therefore fewer customers will be impacted,” Mr Pratt said.
Stage one of the project is from Deborah Bay to the outskirts of the Aramoana township and will take place from 16-25 February. After a week’s break, the second stage will take place from 7-10 March in the Aramoana township.
Mr Pratt said some customers will have their power out at times, which is not ideal but when undertaking this type of work, power outages must occur to ensure the safety of contractors and the public.
“Where possible we will generate customers for major projects but because this section of the network is so spread out, we are unable to generate all households. Around 55 customers will be without power during the day for either four or six days during Stage one, and 82 customers will have no power for four days in early March while we complete Stage two in the Aramoana township.
“We have partnered with the Port Chalmers library, which has access to toilets, computers and Wi-Fi, and will generate the Aramoana Hall from 7-10 March so people in the township have somewhere to go and make a cup of tea, use the bathroom, charge devices or chat with an Aurora Energy team member, who will be there each day,” Mr Pratt said.
Although customers will be notified of the outages by their electricity retailer, Aurora Energy has also contacted them to outline the work being done and let them know what community support is available through the Port Chalmers Library and Aramoana Hall.
People living in the area may notice helicopters flying overhead as they will be involved in stringing the new power lines in areas where the terrain is difficult. Traffic management will be in place while the work is being carried out.