Documenting our underground network

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

If your home or business is connected to our underground electricity network, you’ll have a pillar box.

A pillar box, also known as gyro, pod or service box, connects your service main to our network if you have an underground service cable, rather than an overhead service line. Pillars are usually plastic boxes on the boundary of your property and contain fuses.

We’ve been progressively labelling every pillar box on our network with an identification code and adding the details, including information about how they connect to other circuits, to our online mapping and data system (GIS). These pillar boxes are connected to what is called our underground ‘low voltage’ (LV) network.

The process of labelling pillar boxes has been run alongside another project to correctly identify all 4,000km of our underground LV network.

It’s important that we keep accurate records, including drawings of our underground electricity circuits, up to date so that our field crews can safely isolate the network to carry out work. Documenting open and isolation points, as well as location and LV circuitry connection information, is not only safer for our crews, but also helps them fix faults more quickly for customers because they know what’s underground. 

Of the around 96,800 pillar boxes on our network, 84% have now been labelled, with about 9,300 labelled during the past financial year (FY23). 

Box labelling in Mount Maunganui and New Plymouth is almost complete, while labelling has now started in the Pyes Pa and Gate Pa areas of Tauranga, and the Bell Block area north of New Plymouth.

Most recently, we’ve continued working on LV connectivity mapping in Mount Maunganui, Pyes Pa, New Plymouth, Feilding and other smaller Manawatū townships, and have published more than 3,900 LV underground circuit plans.

Areas completed (box labelling and completion of LV connectivity) include Whanganui, Wairarapa, except for Greytown, most of Manawatū, South Waikato, as well as 40% of Coromandel Peninsula.