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Upgrade of electricity supply for Mossburn Athol area

Project managing a major upgrade and line project to improve electricity supply quality and security to northern Southland is one of Murray Popenhagen’s latest jobs.

Murray is managing The Power Company’s Mossburn to Athol line upgrade. The first two stages were completed in early March 2013.

“The 14.5km upgrade from 11kV line to include an additional 66kV line will provide the region with an improved quality of electricity supply,” said Murray.

The project will increase the network load capability for the future growth in the district, he said. Through an engineering review, as part of The Power Company’s Asset Management Plan, it was found that voltage quality improvements were required in the northern Southland region with irrigation now being utilised in areas such as Athol, Riversdale and Mossburn for an increase in land productivity.

Line mechanics undertook sections of the upgrade using live line work to ensure that customers were not affected by power outages.

“It was important to us to keep as many customers connected to the network at all times,” Murray said.

Stage one was completed in 2012. This upgrade consisted of 5km of line from the Mossburn zone substation through Mossburn and finishing across the Oreti River.

The remainder of this project is in the final planning stage by PowerNet. This includes the 15km stage three line upgrade. In addition, construction of a new zone substation in the Athol area is also in final planning stages. The new substation will need to be connected before stage three of the line upgrade can be livened, Murray said.

The total project cost of the PowerNet project is in excess of $5million and is part of The Power Company’s 10 year Asset Management Plan.

Ducting the 22kV cable under the Shotover bridge

Ducting the 22kV cable under the Shotover bridge

Shotover Country

Reticulating and managing the network for the first stage of the 770-lot Shotover Country development on Ladies Mile in Frankton is a big job for PowerNet Central.

Electricity Southland (ESL) has contracted PowerNet Central to extend the ESL network from Glenda Drive to the subdivision via a 22kV cable, crossing the Shotover Bridge and reticulating stage one of the development.

Stage one is planned to be completed by June 2013, and then we will work to relocate a 33kV line at Shotover Country by the end of 2014 to allow further growth in the development.

Shotover Country is a long term project for ESL and the developers.  It consists primarily of residential properties, but also includes a 500-pupil primary school, which was recently announced by the Ministry of Education.

Ultrafast Broadband

Ian Boud of PowerNet Central has a big geographical area to cover, and a big project to manage.

As project manager for the installation of over 200 rural and ultrafast broadband cabinets, his work area covers from Bluff to Kumara on the West Coast.

“It is a big area and a big project,” he says.  “PowerNet Central is project managing and doing the cabinet installs and the civil and site works.  We sort out what is required to get power to the sites and get the cabinets installed.”

Mr Boud says the five year project involved installing about 45 cabinets a year.

“I’ve had a long working relationship with Downers and their predecessors contracted to Telecom – doing their power hook-ups and other work.  They know our capabilities and  asked if we could extend our services to carry out the civil work on the cabinets as well as the power so that we became a one-stop-shop for their cabinet installs. PowerNet Central staff do the site works and ducting before Mr Boud comes in to do the electrical and battery work on each cabinet.

“We do everything apart from the final phone cabling for the broadband.  Our job is to ensure these cabinets are ready to go when the Telecom technicians turn up,” he says.

PowerNet Central started working on the rural broadband project in June 2012.

Skifield Expertise

Coronet Peak - lit up thanks to PowerNet Central

Coronet Peak – lit up thanks to PowerNet Central

When you hit the slopes, spare a thought for the off-season work put in by PowerNet Central crews so you can enjoy the powder.

No company has more experience than PowerNet Central at providing reliable and secure electricity supplies to ski areas.  PowerNet Central has New Zealand’s ski industry heavyweights Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Ohau, and Cardrona amongst its clients.

“Our main period for skifield work is in the summer months,” PowerNet Central general manager business services Ross Beal says.  “There’s a bit of capital works, and a bit of repair and maintenance work to be completed before the first snow of the season lands.”

He says one of the biggest projects for PowerNet Central was the complete reticulation of Coronet Peak in 2007, a significant project that cemented PowerNet Central as accompany that can work collaboratively with a client to design and install specialized services in a unique environment.

“This project included reticulation to snow guns and lighting and required us to work all over the mountain which helped make the skifield what it is today.”

In season, PowerNet Central crews don’t have as much to do once the snow falls, but the crews are still responsible for all high voltage work on the skifields as required.