Aurora hurrying before winter to make network more robust

Aurora Energy is racing to beat the Central Otago winter as widespread work to upgrade the electricity lines network across the district continues.

The work is a bid by the lines company to upgrade its ageing network and prevent power failures of the past, such as the nine-hour cut that struck Clyde on the coldest day of winter last year.

Yesterday, work started in Roxburgh on 1.3km of new lines, and replacement of 23 poles and two crossarms.

An Aurora spokeswoman said next week and into the first week of May work would focus on the main 33kV line to Omakau.

‘‘Any time the area’s only 33kV line fed from Alexandra experiences a fault, residents and businesses around Omakau, including Lauder, Ophir, Becks and Poolburn, lose power.’’

Aurora had surveyed poles and lines, finding equipment defects along both the 33kV Alexandra to Omakau and the 33kV Omakau to Lauder Flat lines.

Included would be 42 pole and 67 crossarm replacements, the Omakau zone substation would receive its last maintenance before it was eventually replaced, Lauder’s zone substation would also receive planned maintenance, along with other upgrades in the Becks and Lauder area.

Following last winter’s outage in Clyde, the company’s project to improve security of power supply for the town was under way.

Clyde power was supplied from its southern end and cables were being installed through the Alexandra Golf Course by Aurora contractor Delta to create a back-up supply into the town from the north.

Over three weeks in May, contractor Network Waitaki would complete the project by upgrading the overhead lines in the Mutton Town area.

Aurora general manager work programming and delivery Mark Pratt said the project would provide greater security of supply and included upgrading a section of the overhead power lines with new poles and lines on Mutton Town Rd to complete a new 11kV line between Alexandra and Clyde.

Aurora works delivery manager for Central Otago Richard Morris said residents in Cromwell, Pisa Moorings and Lowburn should not lose power if a fault occurred at Aurora’s Cromwell substation, in Barry Ave.

A recent upgrade of transformer capacity at Aurora’s Cromwell substation meant the area was future-proofed by two new $7million 16/24 MVA power transformers replacing two smaller transformers in service since 1981, when the station was built.

Fruit processing facilities and cool stores would also soon have greater security of power supply with a new alternative supply in Ripponvale Rd, near Cromwell.


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