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Greytown planned power outages to support commercial growth

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

An upgrade of Greytown’s electricity network is currently underway to support commercial growth and the future reliability of the power supply in the Wairarapa town.

A series of planned, intermittent power outages in and around Greytown have occurred during October, and are scheduled during November and early December.

Powerco GM Service Delivery and Systems Operations, Ian Skipworth, thanks Greytown customers for their patience during the planned outages, staggered at varying times.

“We understand there is never really a convenient time for an outage, particularly if you are a business. When an outage is planned ahead of time, customers are given advanced notice through their electricity retailers to allow them enough time to make alternative arrangements, such as hiring generators, so it does not affect their ability to trade,” Mr Skipworth said.

The $1.6 million work in Greytown involves upgrading and maintaining a variety of electrical equipment, including power poles, crossarms, and rewiring sections of power lines, to enable future commercial growth and ensure security of electricity supply, he said.

Several dozen people work on the equipment during the intensive planned outages, which are carried out during daylight hours for the safety of the workers. The work is complex and shadows from lights during low light conditions means working in the evening and during the night is not possible.

“This approach has worked well in similar situations, where a large amount of maintenance and upgrade work was required. We recognise that it may create short-term inconvenience, but this will be outweighed by the long-term benefits for the Greytown community’s electricity supply,” Mr Skipworth said.

Upgrading the electricity network in the town now, to allow for the growth occurring, will help avoid unplanned power cuts in the long-term, he said.

“Powerco invests heavily in asset management and replacement each year, resulting in thousands of planned outages, to ensure the electricity network supplying our communities remains safe and reliable.

“Unfortunately, this means it would be prohibitive to provide every business affected with a generator during planned outages. Those extra charges would inevitably be passed on to all customers through their electricity invoices.”

Mr Skipworth said the project manager and customer services team members had been in contact with business owners who had come to Powerco with concerns about the planned outages in Greytown, to explain the situation.

When the electricity retailer (the company people pay their power bill to) notifies customers about a planned power outage on Powerco’s behalf, there is a reserve day stated.

“We appreciate it’s frustrating when customers plan for an outage to occur on a day and for it to then be moved to the reserve day instead. Unfortunately, work cannot always be carried out on the first notified date, mostly because of weather events, but it could be because of logistics around available staff or safety concerns. This is why we state the reserve day right at the start,” he said.

Powerco has a function on its website that enables people to check if a planned power cut affects their address. Customers can enter their address, street or town at the top right corner of the page www.powerco.co.nz/future-power-cuts to check if their property is affected either ‘today’ or during the ‘next 30 days’ (use the dropdown arrow in the top right hand corner).

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