Delivering differently

Powerco has started a project to instal a 164km fibre optic cable in the Coromandel Peninsula to better control and manage the electricity network in the area for the customers it serves there. 

The fibre will allow real-time monitoring of the performance of the electricity network, with data able to be transmitted both to and from its Network Operations Centre based in New Plymouth. 

That will allow the network control team to remotely monitor and control the network.  

Head of Electricity Programme and Delivery, Lynley Dunn says the fibre communications will be a big step forward for improving resilience and the ability to better monitor power supply in the Coromandel region. 

“The Coromandel region is one of the most beautiful parts of our electricity network, and also one of our most challenging,” she says. 

“We serve customers there across some tricky and remote terrain. Installing this fibre will allow us to install more ‘smart tech’ to be our eyes and ears in those further-flung areas of region. So for instance we’ll be able to monitor demand for power, or better detect if an outage has occurred.” 

“It will also allow our network operations team to remotely operate the network – to conduct switching for instance. So that means if there’s an outage and there are backfeeding options available, the team could remotely and reliably re-route power to get customers reconnected.“ 

Work in progress 

Work on the installation began early this year, and the project will be completed towards the end of the year. 
The majority of the fibre is being installed on Powerco’s existing overhead network, with some underground installation where that’s not available. Northpower are carrying out the installation on Powerco’s behalf. 

  Whangamata map

Delivering differently 

To reduce costs of the project for its electricity customers, Powerco looked to collaborate with fibre users and providers. 

That led to an agreement with Chorus to use spare capacity, to supplement/support their existing telecommunications services in the region. 

This is the first time Powerco has sought to deliver a project in this way – signalling a new way to deliver infrastructure even more efficiently and cost-effectively for its customers. 

Where available, Chorus will be able to leverage spare capacity of this ‘dark fibre’ asset to use as backhaul to bolster capacity between their existing exchanges.

The arrangement is good news for customers in that this both maximises the use of the asset, and spreads the cost of it.  

 Powerco General Manager, Business Development Eric Pellicer says he sees the potential to deliver more projects like this in the future. 

 “Aotearoa New Zealand’s infrastructure needs a lot of investment, and it’s important that it’s delivered effectively and efficiently. If this project proves to be successful, we’ll be looking for similar opportunities to partner with other infrastructure owners and operators to deliver projects where there is alignment,” he says. 


Powerco is building a closed fibre loop around Coromandel Peninsula to provide communications about its electricity network in the area to the team at its Network Operations Centre in Taranaki. This will help Powerco better manage its electricity assets in the Coromandel – for instance by providing peak demand data, or alerting controllers of an outage.
We have contracted Northpower to carry out the installation on our behalf.
While some of the fibre will be installed underground where power poles were not available, it’s more cost effective to install and maintain the fibre using our existing overhead assets than to build it underground.
The fibre is a black cable 18mm in diameter, so it looks similar to the electricity lines already on your property.
We anticipate using two trucks with buckets as well as a four-wheel drive SUV or farm bike. In more remote areas a helicopter may be used.
Yes. Under Section 23 of the Electricity Act 1992 we can install or upgrade additional works including communication fibre to run the network. 
Fibre broadband will not be directly available to individual homes or businesses on the completion of this work. While we are partnering with Chorus to reduce costs, their use of the fibre cable will be to bolster broader network infrastructure across the Coromandel and improve network resilience.
Powerco will be responsible for maintaining the fibre cable, in the same way that the existing overhead lines and poles are currently maintained.

Planned Outages

  • Thursday, May 23rd
    Outage ref #: 109958
  • Wednesday, May 29th
    Outage ref #: 109970

You can find whether you'll be affected by these outages by searching the outage reference number in our Planned Outage Information Page. (Please note: our planned outages are only searchable approximately 10 working days prior to the outage date).


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