In our Asset Management Plan we outlined a large project to replace the conductors on many of our feeders (that is the lines that take power from our substations to homes and businesses across the region) as these lines are now reaching the end of life. We are currently focussing on those lines installed in the 1950s and 1960s and over the next ten years we expect to spend around $15.8 million. So far this year we have upgraded the conductors in Mountfield Road, Tutukaka Block Road and Hill Top Ave.
This replacement of aged conductors will improve public safety and means consumers are less likely to experience unplanned power outages. We thank the residents in these areas who have had outages and road closures enabling this work. Next on the list are several line replacements in Whau Valley, Kokopu, Onerahi and Mangawhai. We will be in touch with you directly if you will be affected with a power outage.
As part of our maintenance and improvement programme, transformers on two-pole structures at their end of life are being replaced with ground-mounted transformers. Being ground-mounted these are safer and the new equipment will improve reliability by lessening the chances of unplanned outages. So far, we’ve invested $325,000 on replacing four of these pole-mounted transformers with ground-mounted transformers in Whau Valley and Otangarei.
We’re working to install 40 automated smart switches at various locations across the network over the next year. Automated switches can be operated remotely from our control room and allow us to back feed power, re-routing it in fault situations. This means we can identify the fault location, and quickly reduce the outage to a smaller area without having to wait for our staff to get to the site. Over the next four years, we anticipate spending $2.7 million on smart switches which will result in shorter unplanned outages for many people.
Over the coming months we will be tackling more of the projects in our plan as well as maintenance work that cannot be completed in the winter due to access, in particular work on lines across paddocks that is better suited to drier summer months.