A fault on one of the main 220kV Transpower cables responsible for transporting electricity from the Southern Waikato to Auckland and onwards to Northland saw our cable location fault response team in action in September 2020.
Northpower provided Transpower with end-to-end management on this critical project - first locating and diagnosing a faulty cable joint, followed by managing the repair project including the entire works program, cable jointers, materials, subcontractors, along with testing and commissioning of the 220kV cable.
Setting up traffic management and a site office, the team went to work excavating the cable joint bay.
Extreme caution was needed in carrying out this time consuming work to ensure no damage to the cables, whilst bearing in mind the need to repair the cable and get it back into service as soon as possible.
Once excavations were complete - much of it taking place utilising hand-held tools - the joint bay was cleaned out and a scaffold constructed to enable a clean and secure working environment to repair the cable, which took around four weeks. Testing was completed, overhead lines re-connected and the road re-instated just in time for Christmas.
One of the biggest challenges of this project was sourcing the skilled personnel needed to complete the works. Due to COVID-19 New Zealand border closures, it was impossible to sub-contract any skillset from overseas.
To mitigate this, we contracted in the skills from within different locations of the Northpower Group, and partners within the industry, the outcome being that we were able to carry out works and get this vital piece of New Zealand electricity infrastructure back into service.
Additionally, an environmental specialist worked alongside us to ensure there was no adverse impacts from our works to an adjacent reserve.
“This work is a great example of Northpower’s capability in stepping up to manage essential works on the country’s critical infrastructure, on behalf of our partner Transpower,” says Kevin Porteous, General Manager Contracting.
“Despite the challenges of border closures, we were able to second skilled contractors to work as part of our team and repair this vital cable in a safe and timely way.”