Director for $30m pole project

Grady Cameron.
Grady Cameron.
Lines company Aurora Energy has appointed a director to oversee its $30.25million pole replacement programme.

Two memos sent to staff at Aurora's sister company, Delta, before Christmas have been leaked to the Otago Daily Times. One is from chief executive Grady Cameron and the other from newly appointed chairman Steve Thompson.

Mr Cameron outlined progress on the company's accelerated plan to replace nearly 3000 poles in Aurora's electricity network which is spread across Dunedin, Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes area.

He emphasised the scale of the job, saying it would be ''one of the largest construction projects in Otago during 2017''.

Godfrey Brosnan had been appointed programme director and would report directly to Mr Cameron.

''Godfrey is an experienced project manager with a background in complex capital works,'' he said.

Mr Brosnan's appointment comes after previous director Jarrod Stewart resigned.

Mr Cameron also said Aurora had spent $1.8million on poles and related equipment for the project and about 1000 poles - a mixture of concrete, wood and steel - had been ordered.

Engineering consultants Beca had been appointed to provide ''quality reviews'' during the project, beginning with a project initiation review.

A request for proposals had also gone out to lines companies and contractors for extra resources, including staff and equipment, from February to the end of next year.

Two regional groups, one in Central Otago and the other in Dunedin, were being set up to carry out the work. Each group would contain units assigned to replace poles in separate areas.

Mr Cameron accepted investment in the network had been lacking.

''We accept the findings of the recent independent review that there has been under-investment in network maintenance in the past and that needs to be fixed.''

The ODT understands the memos were leaked after staff were warned of serious consequences should they speak to media.

Mr Thompson said in his memo there were ''channels to escalate any problem or concern you have''.

''Talk to your manager or if you prefer contact the chief executive, Grady Cameron, or me direct.

''My commitment to you is that we do want to hear from you and we will respond.''

Mr Thompson also told staff it was an ''exciting'' time to work for Delta, given the scale and importance of work on the network that needed doing.

''As a new chair and board we're clear that the network needs modernising, that enough hasn't been done in the past, that we'll do more and faster in future.

''While there is no quick fix, the commitment from the board and management team is that we can and will be doing more, faster to improve the network and maintain safety.''

Whistleblower Richard Healey questioned Mr Brosnan's appointment, saying his background was in management, not engineering.

Delta did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

Comments

What exactly does the rate payer of Dunedin pay Mr Cameron $500.000 plus per year to do, what is his actual job,this is just another huge salary no doubt for somebody who is not required and should not have been appointed without the consent of the ratepayer. Do your job Mr Cameron or get out and allow somebody to do it who is up to the job and while your at it take a pay drop that reflects your performance,let's say $50,000 a year that's a more realistic pay packet.

 

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