Raised building combating future flooding

Friday, December 02, 2022

An aerial view of an electrical substation with two buildings - one is higher off the ground with scaffolding around it

A Whanganui high-voltage electricity switchroom is being raised off the ground to safeguard it against future flooding.

Powerco General Manager Electricity Karen Frew says a new switchroom being built at the company’s Peat St substation site has been constructed 1.8m off the ground to help protect Whanganui’s electricity supply.

“During the 2015 flood in Whanganui, water flowed through the Peat St substation yard. After that event, we knew that we needed to ensure we futureproofed this new switchroom,” Karen Frew says.

The new Peat St switchroom, which is expected to be completed in February, is part of a multi-million-dollar investment Powerco is making to secure Whanganui’s power now and allow for future growth.

“This year we’ve installed almost 8km of underground cable across the city, between our Roberts Ave and Peat St substations, to our Taupo Quay substation. This additional 33kV circuit means there’s alternatives to restore power to the Whanganui community more quickly and safely if there’s a power cut,” Karen Frew says.

“This is particularly important in the city centre, as the Taupo Quay substation provides critical power supply to the CBD as well as the hospital.”

To install the underground electricity cable, Powerco crews have used directional drilling, rather than open trenching, to reduce the impact on the community and road users.

“We’ve been working with Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui and Te Rūnanga o Tūpoho, as well as Archaeology North and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, to make sure these electricity projects do not negatively impact the awa or any cultural and archaeological sites of importance. The Whanganui river has always been an important asset for Whanganui and its communities, and even more so now with the Te Awa Tupua Act recognising it as a legal entity,” Karen Frew says.

Plans and consultation are also underway to renew the river crossing towers between the Whanganui national grid exit point (GXP) and the Taupo Quay substation, as well as upgrading the power line capacity between Brunswick GXP and Roberts Ave substation.

Click here for our dedicated Whanganui project webpage.

Photo caption: (Right) An aerial view of the Peat St switchroom being built adjacent to the existing Peat St substation building which will remain.


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