Vincent board to seek CODC aid on Aurora

Russell Garbutt
Russell Garbutt
Vincent Community Board members are taking Aurora Energy to task about its power poles and infrastructure, and will ask the Central Otago District Council to meet Aurora representatives to discuss the board's concerns.

Board member Russell Garbutt had filed a notion of motion and accompanying three page letter about his concerns about the ''continuing failure'' of Aurora's network.

They include what Mr Garbutt calls previous ''political'' decisions that led to the deterioration of Aurora's network; concerns about ''fundamentally flawed'' testing systems used by Aurora; the falling of four poles in Alexandra and Clyde in just over a year; the ''significant'' number of poles that have been temporary reinforced by ''pole nailing''; and the cost to Central Otago residents of Aurora applying to increase its line charges.

An Aurora spokesman responded earlier this week that the board was ''right to be concerned'', saying any pole failure was a safety risk and Aurora was taking ''every practicable step'' to address a backlog of poles in poor condition.

Mr Garbutt said at yesterday's board meeting he had made the ''unusual'' move of raising a notice of motion about something that did not directly involve the council because he was ''genuinely concerned for the safety of our community''.

''I think we [board members] have, collectively and individually, a responsibility to raise any matters that are happening in our community that could cause this community to be endangered or put at risk.''

The board voted to take its concerns to the council and is now asking the council to request a meeting of council representatives with Aurora board members and management.

This week's Aurora statement said its representatives welcomed the opportunity to update elected members on its network renewal programme, and had offered to provide a full briefing.

The Aurora spokesman said ''significant progress'' had been made addressing the backlog of poor condition poles.

''In Central Otago, that work has seen unassisted pole failures halve in the last three years from 10 in 2016 to five last year. Our plan will see us continue to address the most critical work in a prioritised way this year and within three years the backlog will have been addressed and our inspection and renewal programme will move to a stable and managed state.''


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