Community emergency backup power

Whangamōmona is the first of four communities to receive emergency backup electricity generation to help power the township in the event of a power outage.

Powerco is installing the generation in a fenced-off area of a layby entering Whangamōmona, on the Stratford side of SH43 (Forgotten World Highway).

The generator and other equipment were delivered to site in October, with the backup supply expected to be operational by the end of 2023. To install communications and get the generator operational, a planned power outage is scheduled for Whangamōmona customers on Tuesday 19 December, between 1pm and 3pm. During this time, customers are expected to experience two 15-minute outages while the generator is turned on and then off again.

Communities receiving emergency backup supply

As well as Whangamōmona, the communities of Castlepoint, Riversdale Beach and Himatangi Beach will also be receiving emergency backup generation.

The generators will be delivered to these communities before the end of 2023 and commissioned for use in early 2024.

Supporting resilience

Our electricity network is made up of sections or ‘feeders’, connecting our customers to our substations. Power to the Whangamōmona, Castlepoint, Riversdale Beach and Himatangi communities is supplied by single feeders, which means we are unable to re-route power from another feeder to restore supply if there’s an outage, such as a tree going through a line in a storm, a vehicle colliding with a power pole, or during a planned outage for maintenance.

With generation, there’s a resource ready to help power the community in the event of the main electricity feed being unavailable. It also enables local communities to set up community hubs to supply essential services for people in the event of a natural disaster.

Conserving energy

While generation should be available when the main power supply is lost in the town, we will need to work together to reduce electricity use where we can so that the generator isn’t overloaded and can continue to power the likes of wifi, fridges, freezers and heating in winter. This means only using power when you need it.  For example, keeping your fridge and freezer operating, but reducing the use of the washing machine or dishwasher by washing dishes by hand. Only turning the light or heater on in the room you are in and turning off heated towels rails, and not using heat pumps for cooling during warmer months. You can read more ways to save energy here

A green crane lowering a large generator container with work people wearing PPE around it

Above: Work being carried out on the site of the Whangamōmona backup generation.

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