Meeting Greytown's growth
We’ve replaced and upgraded Greytown’s electricity network so the community can continue to have a reliable power supply to meet residential and commercial growth, as well as helping avoid unplanned power outages in the future.
The work was carried out in two phases. Phase one, which began in late 2020, involved a $1.6 million upgrade of the electricity network in western Greytown and included the central business district.
East Greytown network upgrade – late 2021 and early 2022
Phase two took place in late 2021 and early 2022 and was a $550,000 programme of work to upgrade and maintain the power poles, crossarms, and rewire sections of power lines in eastern Greytown.
So the work could be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible, a series of planned, intermittent power outages in eastern Greytown, encompassing around 700 properties, were needed.
This phase of the work was carefully planned to minimise disruption as much as possible.
- The timing was chosen to avoid the coldest winter months and the busy summer holiday period.
- Temporary changes were made to the electricity network to reduce the areas affected by the outages.
- In respect of Greytown’s Main Street businesses, there were two outages that would have impacted them. However, we were able to arrange for generation at the transformer that feeds the main street. This provided full supply on the days of the planned outages, apart from short, 30-minute interruptions to supply before and after each day’s work to allow the generator to be connected and disconnected from the network, with businesses being able to continue trading as usual. This occurred early and late (6.30am and 6pm) to avoid trading times.
- Generation was supplied to essential community services including a rest home, school, medical centre, early learning centre, town centre businesses and water treatment plant.
- A small number of businesses outside the town centre required an outage, and we contacted them directly to provide as much notice as possible once the planned dates were confirmed.
- A dedicated webpage was set up to keep the community up to date with the work progress, including contact details for our Customer Experience Team should residents want to ask questions or provide feedback.
In the weeks leading up to the work starting, we engaged directly with the local Mayor, MP and business leaders, and let affected customers know about the project through various channels, including a direct letter, newspaper advertisements and social channels.
To support the Greytown community during six of the larger outages, we worked with the Greytown Community Board and the South Wairarapa District Council to set up a community hub in the foyer of Greytown Town Centre. It was an opportunity for locals affected by the outages to access wifi, hot water, as well as complimentary coffee, refreshments, and cake.
Two to five people a day used the space to either work or conduct online meetings. A number of residents and business owners also popped in to ask questions about their outages, or people just stopped by to learn more on their way to the library situated next door, Powerco Community and Marketing Programmes Advisor, Robyn Towning, says.
“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” she says of the community hub, a new initiative to improve local engagement during planned outages in smaller communities on our network.
Members of Powerco’s Customer Team were on-hand for three of the outages to talk with people at the hub, with Works Project Manager Gavin Paget calling in on the other days to chat to locals.
Above: Powerco Community and Marketing Programmes Advisor Robyn Towning talks with a member of the Greytown community at a Community Hub day.
- “I am so pleased you have this set up – such a great idea!”
- “I read about it on the website. I am using it today and my husband is using it tomorrow. It’s a lifesaver.”
- “My battery was running low and I had an online meeting so it was great to have this space to use”
- “You’re doing the right thing. The community appreciates it”
Above: Appreciation from Greytown Village via Facebook.
By using various channels, we were able to reach a wide range of the Greytown community.
Greytown community partnerships
As part of our commitment to supporting the communities we operate in, we partnered with the Greytown Community Board and Greytown Tree Action Group in July 2021 to bring our Replant for Tomorrow initiative to the town.
Replant for Tomorrow is our way of helping to redress the fact that, in order to help keep our customers’ power supply reliable and safe, we sometimes need to remove trees if they’re too close to power poles and lines.
Along with Wairarapa arborists Arb Innovations Ltd, trees were planted at O’Connor’s Bush and Greytown Cemetery on Arbor Day 2021.
In addition, in late 2021, we supported the Greytown community’s drive to save its iconic 165-year-old, St Luke’s Church eucalyptus tree, contributing the remaining funds needed to protect the tree.
Millie Blackwell, Chair of the Greytown Heritage Trust, who has been involved in the fundraising from the start, said our support meant the work could finally be completed to preserve the tree.
“On behalf of the Greytown Heritage Trust and the Greytown community we are beyond grateful for Powerco’s contribution. This donation meant we could complete all the work necessary to preserve this significant and historically important tree,” she says.
From left: Greytown Tree Action Group’s Jez Partridge, Greytown Community Board member Shelley Symes, Powerco General Manager Customer Stuart Dickson and Arb Innovations’ James Milcairns at the Replant for Tomorrow event at the entrance to Greytown Cemetery.
Above: Arb Innovations Powerco Contract Manager and Arborist, James Milcairns, crown reducing the iconic Greytown gum.