Shoring up Coromandel's power

 

We’re investing in the Coromandel region to improve the reliability of people’s power supply there.

With more people choosing to live and visit the Coromandel region, there’s a greater demand for power. It means there are times during the year – mainly public holidays and long weekends – when the level of demand is greater than our electricity network was originally designed to deliver.

There’s a chance of losing power during these times of peak demand, and this will increase as the region’s electricity demand continues to grow, Ryno Verster, Powerco General Manager of Asset Strategy and Investment, says.

“Coromandel is a beautiful part of our network, but there are significant challenges posed by potential line routes and the terrain, which often translates into significant costs or delays when building poles and wires.

“That’s why we’re investigating alternative options for the region that will keep the lights on for the community when demand for power peaks.”

During the past few years, Coromandel Peninsula customers have told us they want a reliable electricity network, with minimal environment impact, and at the lowest cost.

With these priorities in mind, we’re exploring solutions.

We’ve put the call out industry wide for registrations of interest for proposed solutions to provide additional supply during peak demand periods that meet the low cost, reliability, and environmental criteria. Options presented will be assessed as part of the final decision-making process.

One possible approach is installing modern diesel generators at three locations: Whitianga, Matarangi and Coromandel township. This provides a back-up supply to kick in when power demand in the region is high. We estimate the generators would be used for the equivalent of eight days a year total across the three sites.

This option is faster to build than traditional poles and wires, has minimal environmental impact through limited running time, and reduces the cost to Coromandel customers compared to alternative options which is passed on through their power bill.

While we believe that diesel generators are the best option from a cost, reliability, and environmental perspective, we’re continuing to explore other alternatives at the same time. This will make sure we deliver the solution that best meets the community’s needs.

To ensure we deliver a solution that reflects the region’s priorities, we’re asking the community to provide their feedback. We will work through customer feedback and available options and will then re-engage with the Coromandel community to share details of the solution.

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