Hired generator keeps hotel lights on

The Chamberson Hotel. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Chamberson Hotel. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Chamberson Hotel managed to keep the lights on last night, despite Aurora Energy cutting power in part of central Dunedin as part of a five-year, $500million upgrade of its southern electricity network.

Hotel owner Richard Buitenhek said he managed to temporarily install a large generator from QPower Ltd (Dunedin), which was placed in a carpark in Lower Stuart St last night.

It was put there without Dunedin City Council consent, which would have taken three weeks to get, so he had no other choice, he said.

"We’re just going to take the risk, because we can’t afford for our guests not to have power."

It kept power on in the building during the power cut, but it came at a cost of $2500 to lease for the night.

He had been trying to get Aurora to pay for it since early March, but he was not successful.

An Aurora Energy spokesman reiterated the electricity company’s stance on the situation yesterday, saying the company would not compensate customers for planned power outages and would not be reimbursing the hotel for any generation costs.

"Customers will appreciate that upgrades to the network are important, and unfortunately, planned outages to undertake the work are unavoidable.

"While we provide generation for schools, early childcare, healthcare, elderly care facilities and veterinary clinics, funding generation for all customers impacted by planned power outages is cost prohibitive, as it would add significant cost to line charges for all customers."

Mr Buitenhek said he had not given up and would pursue the costs of the generator through Utilities Disputes.

"We’ll sort it out in due course."