Futureproofed switchroom

Monday, December 19, 2022

A new high voltage switchroom at our Peat St substation in Whanganui has been built 1.8m off the ground to safeguard it against future flooding and help protect the city’s electricity supply.

Following heavy rains in 2015, water flowed through our Peat St substation yard, flooding the area.

Before we invested $8.65 million in this new switchroom and associated equipment on the same site, it was prudent that we futureproofed it against potential flooding.

Water and electronic switchgear aren’t a good mix. If the switchgear was flooded, it could potentially lead to prolonged power outages for our Whanganui customers.

The new Peat St switchroom, which is expected to be completed in February 2023, is part of a $20 million investment we’re making to secure Whanganui’s power now and allow for future growth.

This new switchroom is an important part of the interconnected electricity network that supplies power throughout Whanganui.

High voltage underground cables connect to this building. They are a section of the almost 8km of underground cabling installed during 2022 across the city, between our Roberts Ave and Peat St substations, to our Taupo Quay substation. This additional 33kV ring circuit means there’s alternatives to restore power to the Whanganui community more quickly and safely if there’s a power cut.

The ring circuit also supports the Taupo Quay substation which provides critical power supply to the CBD as well as the hospital.

We’ve been working with Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui and Te Rūnanga o Tūpoho, as well as Archaeology North and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, to make sure these electricity projects do not negatively impact the awa or any cultural and archaeological sites of importance. The Whanganui River has always been an important asset for Whanganui and its communities, and even more so now with the Te Awa Tupua Act recognising it as a legal entity.

Photo caption: An aerial view of the Peat St switchroom (right) being built adjacent to the existing Peat St substation building which will remain.

An aerial view of an electrical substation with two buildings - one is higher off the ground with scaffolding around it