Latest technology installed in Pongaroa

Monday, October 31, 2016

One of the remotest areas on Powerco's electricity network has just received a $1 million boost.

The substation at Pongaroa, 50km east of Pahiatua in the Wairarapa, has undergone a refit that will increase reliability of supply to the rugged region.

“Basically we’ve brought the substation in to the 21st century,” Powerco’s General Manager Electricity, Andrew McLeod, said.

The substation serves 631 connections spread over a vast area.

“While that is not a huge number of customers compared to the upgrade expense, the work was necessary. It is important our equipment is reliable and safe and the substation equipment was at the end of its useful life,” he said.

The work included installing new 11kv switch gear and replacing the substation’s transformer.

“The new switch gear has been moved indoors, meaning less maintenance. It is also better for the environment as it does away with the oil-based gear and is more reliable.”

The Pongaroa substation can now be monitored live at Powerco’s network control centre in New Plymouth.

Transporting the portacom building from Wanganui to Pongaroa to house the new equipment wasn’t without its challenges.

“We went via Eketahuna and even then had to negotiate a number of single lane bridges. That meant raising the building to clear the bridge sides then lowering it again on the other side.”

Pongaroa is part of a ring of substations that serves the Wairarapa region and the upgrade boosts the reliability of that circuit.

“A large part of the Wairarapa network contains very testing country. Pongaroa extends to the East Coast and much of the overhead network can only be accessed by helicopter,” Mr McLeod said.

He said support from the Pongaroa community during the project was appreciated. A section adjoining the existing substation was bought from a local farmer to house the Portacom building.

“We also tried to use local business where possible for supply of metal and construction of the security fencing around the substation.”

Powerco representatives were in the township on Friday to thank locals for their support. The company shouted lunch for the whole community at the Pongaroa Primary School’s pet day. Two ipads were also donated to the school.

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