General Manager Work, Programming and Delivery Mark Pratt said while the impacts to some groups of customers could be significant, power outages are needed to allow Aurora’s contractors to work safely. The new infrastructure will bring the electricity infrastructure in these communities up to modern standards. The goal is to reduce the number of faults on these lines, also increase reliability of the power supply to Aurora customers.
The first two sections of the work are Portobello and Harwood areas.
“Customers have experienced 16 unplanned outages in this area since 2017. These were due to factors such as adverse weather events and defects in ageing lines, poles and power infrastructure that will be replaced as part of this work,” he said.
The Peninsula is also exposed to salt spray, and the new modern conductors, also known as lines, are designed to withstand adverse weather and salt spray impacts, which can cause faults.
“After this project is complete the chance of a line failure in this area will be greatly reduced,” he said.
Residents and businesses have been notified of outages starting this coming week. Between Allans Beach Rd and Harington Point Road in Portobello, a small group of customers will experience outages over 4.5 days while 1.8 kilometres of lines and some poles are replaced between 8 and 12 March. Aurora is providing local vouchers to use at a Portobello café, and ensuring toilet facilities and water is available.
Unison contractors (including crews from Timaru) will carry out a separate tranche of work from 16-18 March in Harwood. In this area, 2.3 km of lines will be replaced, as well as some poles. During this work Aurora will provide a generator so that Scott Hall can be used by affected Harwood residents during the three days power outages will occur, with water, tea, coffee and morning tea provided. Access to fridge and toilet facilities will also be available.
During both weeks when work is taking place, residents and others planning to visit these parts of the Peninsula are advised to expect traffic delays as work on the lines occurs roadside.
Further work is scheduled between Portobello and Harington Point over the rest of 2021 as lines reaching further north on the Peninsula are upgraded as part of the same project. However, Aurora is putting in significant effort to notify residents, discuss scheduling and assess impacts before these additional outages occur.