Powerco shoring up power supply in Coromandel

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Powerco is investing in the Coromandel to improve the reliability of power supply in the region.

The area has an increased chance of losing power during times of peak demand, when an influx of people (mainly during public holidays and long weekends), puts strain on the electricity network. The likelihood of outages increases as more people choose to live in and visit the region.


Finding the right solution

Over the years, Powerco’s customers have said they want a reliable network, with minimal environmental impact, at the lowest cost.

That’s why Powerco is exploring solutions for the challenge facing the Coromandel with these priorities in mind.

One possible approach is the installation of modern diesel generators at three locations: Whitianga, Matarangi and Coromandel Town.

This provides a back-up supply to kick in when power demand in the region is high. Powerco estimates the generators would be used for the equivalent of eight days a year total across the three sites.

This option is faster to build than traditional poles and wires, has minimal environmental impact through limited running time, and reduces the cost to Coromandel customers compared to alternative options which is passed on through their power bill.

Ryno Verster, General Manager of Asset Strategy and Investment, says

“Coromandel is a beautiful part of our network, but there are significant challenges posed by potential line routes and the terrain, which often translates into significant costs or delays when building poles and wires.”

“That’s why we’re investigating alternative options for the region that will keep the lights on for the community when demand for power peaks.

Powerco has put that call out industry-wide. Registrations of interest are currently open for proposed solutions to provide additional supply during peak demand periods that meet the low cost, reliability and environmental criteria

Any options presented will be assessed as part of the final decision-making process.

Interest needs to be registered by 23 April 2021.


Calling for feedback

To ensure that Powerco delivers a solution that reflects the region’s priorities, the company is asking the community to provide their feedback.

Powerco wants to know whether the people of Coromandel agree that cost, reliability, the speed at which a solution can be delivered, and the environment are the four most important factors when designing a solution. Or, if there are other more important factors the company should consider.

Stuart Dickson, General Manager Customer Group, says that it’s important to include customers in the decision-making process.

“We’re here to bring power to our customers now and into the future. Checking that we understand their priorities and that our proposed solution for the Coromandel aligns with these and meets their needs is crucial. We’re committed to working closely with our customers and other key stakeholders in the region to raise awareness and get their input.”

The campaign is now live and runs until 2 May across newspapers, radio, digital advertising and social media.

Respondents can read about Powerco’s plans for the Coromandel and share their thoughts here.


Reaching a decision

Powerco will work through customer feedback and available options over the coming months and a decision on a solution will be reached by the middle of the year.

The company will then be able to re-engage with the Coromandel community to share details of the solution that will be delivered to shore up power supply in the region now and in the future.

Lanterns hanging from a tree at night

There’s an increased chance of Coromandel losing power during peak times when there’s an influx of people to the region for holidays and events like the Powerco Illume Festival.

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