Rotten power pole falls and cuts power

Photo by Tyler Christmas.
Photo by Tyler Christmas.
A fallen power pole near the corner of Taieri Rd and Berwick St, in Dunedin, cut power to Halfway Bush and Wakari residents early yesterday.

The wooden pole is believed to have rotted through, causing it to fall on to private property about 2am, damaging a car. 

Delta chief executive Grady Cameron said the incident was regretted and Delta had been in contact with the property owner about damage caused, and the company's insurers in regard to compensation.

''We are currently investigating the sequence of events that led to the pole's failure. What is clear is that the pole had internal rot that was not easily detectable.''

Mr Cameron said the pole had been replaced with a new hardwood pole.

Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The condition of all poles on the Aurora Energy network were checked regularly as part of scheduled maintenance and the pole in question was last checked in 2011.

''However, it is not always possible to accurately assess the internal condition of wooden poles.

''We have an extensive and ongoing pole replacement programme on the Aurora Energy networks in Dunedin and Central Otago,'' he said.

Ask Delta? Yeah

"Give Delta a call," advises Dunners.  I did that several times over a few years regarding a gum tree planted right at the front of a suburban section that was hitting power lines and causing sparking during storms. I'd have had more luck making contact with them using a Ouija board to pass a message via someone in the spirit world.  Eventually someone, perhaps one of their own staff, noticed the tree and at last it was felled with consequent benefit to neighbourhood houses' spouting.  The same garden now boasts a rapidly growing sycamore which will be in range of the lines in a couple of years tops.  Will I bother phoning Delta?  Sure, when I have absolutely nothing else at all to do my time.

Ask them

Give Delta a call and ask them for the information.

Tip of the iceberg

I wonder if Aurora/Delta would like to check a few other poles in the city which show the same external signs of rot.   This pole not only damaged the person's car - it cut supply to a large area of Dunedin and its not good enough to replace such main-supply poles only when they fail.

Aurora and Delta are two council owned companies who's focus seems to be on maximising their profit payments to the DCC, rather than the basics of providing a good, reliable power supply.  I would love to know how many poles are replaced in Dunedin each year as a percentage of the total.   And I would love to know how that compares to the percentage 20 years ago when the focus was on being a power company. 

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