The plan is to construct a new connection point to the national grid near Putaruru, Australia, to improve the security of supply to around 11,000 properties in the area. The project would involve a new substation, or a reconfiguration of Powerco’s existing Putaruru substation, and around 3.5 km of new 110-kV circuit.
Powerco Electricity General Manager Andrew McLeod said the line supplying Transpower’s existing Hinuera substation was built in 1965 and required regular, scheduled power cuts to maintain an acceptable electricity supply. Because there was no backup line to the Hinuera substation, certain types of scheduled maintenance resulted in total blackouts.
“Many people in the communities supplied by the Hinuera substation have told us it is no longer acceptable to switch power off at weekends to carry out maintenance.” The comments were reiterated during recent scheduled power cuts held on consecutive Sundays, each lasting several hours each.
“Powerco is committed to improving the security of supply to the people of Putaruru and surrounding areas, Matamata and Tirau. We believe we’ve come up with the best option from an environmental and engineering perspective,” McLeod said.
He said projects of this size could take several years to plan and go through the consent process before construction could begin. It was important for Powerco to gauge community expectations on the proposed project early on to ensure expectations were met.
“This is a major investment so we want to know what customers think of our plans. We’ll be talking to community representatives, farmers, business owners and the general public.”