Ōhakea to Bulls electricity upgrade


We’re upgrading the electricity network in Rangitīkei to continue to keep Bulls and surrounding communities’ homes and businesses powered now and in the future.

You’ll see us and our contractors Blackley Construction and Downer working on the roadsides between the two areas from March 2022.

The $3.5 million project is being carried out in stages.

There’ll be traffic management in place sometimes – please bear with us, making a great connection takes time.

When complete, the upgrade will provide back-up electricity options – enabling us to restore power to customers quicker and more safely if there is a power cut.


Reducing disruption

We’ve moved the work route away from the busy town centre to remove disruption to businesses.

As much possible, we’ll also carry out our work at the same time as local councils and Waka Kotahi undertake any of their own infrastructure upgrades along SH3.

No power outages are planned for customers as part of this work.


Where we’ll be and when

Map of work schedule 

* Timings dependent on conditions such as weather and COVID restrictions.


Getting in touch

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we carry out this essential upgrade.

If you would like to contact us about this work, please email or call us.

Email: customerexperience@powerco.co.nz 

Phone: 0800 769 372 (Monday to Friday, 8am – 5.30pm)


Feilding, Sanson and Bulls – $15 million investment over three years

The installation of the 33kV underground electricity cable between our Ōhakea and Bulls substations concludes a $15 millioninvestment over three years in our underground network supplying Feilding, Sanson and Bulls townships, including the Royal New Zealand Air Force base at Ōhakea.

Once complete, the upgraded underground network will provide secure back-up electricity options for the Manawatū and Rangitīkei regions, so we can restore power to those communities’ customers quicker and more safely if there is a power cut.

Why investment was needed

To ensure we could continue to supply the Feilding, Sanson and Bulls homes and businesses, including the Ōhakea Airforce Base, now and into the future, work was needed to boost electricity capacity in the Rangitīkei-Manawatū region.

The northern region of our Manawatū network area, including most of Palmerston North, is supplied electricity through Transpower’s Bunnythorpe grid exit point (GXP). Our regional underground 33kV cable network then supplies three substations – Feilding, Sanson and Kimbolton. However, there was no high-voltage circuit for back-up supply between Sanson and Bulls, meaning we couldn’t restore supply to customers in the area from another substation if they had an outage.


Added to this, the New Zealand Defence Force had indicated it was embarking on significant upgrades at its Ohakea airbase, increasing airbase electricity demand to 8MVA.


To solve these energy supply constraints, we constructed a new 10MVA substation at Ōhakea. We’re in the process of finishing installing a 33kV underground electricity cable link between the Ōhakea and Bulls substations.


Once complete later this year, the entire project will provide a connection between Transpower’s Marton and Bunnythorpe GXPs, providing energy back-up to the new Ōhakea substation and Bulls substation, as well as the ability to reduce the load at the Sanson substation and enabling transfer for load off Bunnythorpe GXP to Marton GXP.


The Ōhakea transformer, being transported through Foxton.

Above: The Ōhakea transformer, being transported through Foxton, on its way to being stored at Bunnythorpe before being installed in the new Ōhakea substation.


2020 and 2021

Construct a new 33kV/11kV zone substation adjacent to the Ōhakea Royal New Zealand Airforce base – complete.

Install new 33kV switchgear at Sanson and Bulls substations – complete.

Thermally upgrade a section of the existing 33kV line between Marton and Bulls – complete.



Construct a new 33kV underground electricity cable line between the Ōhakea and Bulls substations, to connect to existing 33kV underground cabling between Ōhakea and Sanson substations. New ducting will be installed underneath the Rangitīkei River bridge to carry the cable across the extensive riverbed.

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