Reinforcement of electricity supply to Palmerston North CBD

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Powerco will this week begin construction of a temporary overhead power line in central Palmerston North to secure the electricity supply to the city's central business district, following the failure of one of the three cables supplying its Main Street Substation.

Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said the cable failed this morning and one of the other two cables supplying the Main Street Substation had also faulted but had subsequently been returned to service.

“We have restored power to the CBD and we have the ability to supply power to all customers if another cable fails. However the network has less resilience to incidents like cars hitting poles or excavators hitting power cables, which could normally occur without any impact to customers in the CBD,” Mr Marsh said.

To manage this risk, Powerco will construct a temporary overhead line between its Keith Street and Main Street substations. Powerco is working closely with the New Zealand Transport Agency and Palmerston North City Council and would publish details of the line route within the next 24 hours.

“We expect construction of the overhead solution to take two to three weeks. This will provide security to the city, while we replace the underground cables that have failed, a larger job which is expected to take six-to-nine months.

“The temporary line will consist of a series of poles, cross-arms and three separate conductors and will be capable of supplying the full CBD load on its own,” Mr Marsh said.

“We appreciate that overhead lines are not a suitable long-term solution for a thriving city and that their construction will cause some disruption, and for this we apologise. However the overhead line will be important in the short-term to ensure we maintain a reliable electricity supply to the CBD and restore the level of resilience and security our standards and customers require,” Mr Marsh said.

Powerco is working with Palmerston North City Council to minimise disruption during this process, and is speaking to people directly affected by the overhead lines being installed.

Powerco will be providing regular updates on the news section of its website and Facebook page as the work progresses.

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