No decision to prosecute Aurora

Worksafe is yet to decide whether it will prosecute Aurora Energy over the state of its power poles.

WorkSafe has been looking into Aurora and its sister company Delta since October over accusations dangerous power poles across Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes were putting the public at risk.

The government entity gave fresh details about its audit of the two companies in response to an Official Information Act request from the Otago Daily Times.

WorkSafe high hazards and energy safety general manager Wayne Vernon said it had completed an ''initial'' audit of a sample of the network's assets and provided a report to Aurora.

Aurora was now considering the report and WorkSafe expected it would respond by the end of this month, Mr Vernon said.

Worksafe did not discuss in its response what it had found during the audit, but said it was yet to decide whether it would prosecute.

''WorkSafe has not to date made a decision to prosecute or not to prosecute Aurora over health and safety issues associated with the state of its poles.''

Mr Vernon emphasised prosecution was one of many options available to it, which also included issuing instructions to remove or minimise the potential for danger and issuing an infringement notice.

Aurora Energy chief executive Grady Cameron said the company was working constructively with WorkSafe and its Energy Safety Service.

''They are comfortable with our response to their work instruction and approach to the fast track pole programme.

''We are making significant progress on removing the risk of identified power poles, as agreed with the Energy Safety Service of WorkSafe,'' Mr Cameron said.

Aurora owns the power network across Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes, and its sister company, Delta, which has the same board and chief executive, is contracted to manage and maintain it.

The companies are in the process of splitting and from July will have separate boards and chief executives.


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