Big project under way in Coastal Taranaki

Friday, December 21, 2018

Powerco has begun a major pole replacement programme south of Opunake that will strengthen its supply network there, particularly during storms.

More than 300 new poles will be installed in the $1.2million project which covers a total of about 28km along SH 45 and along Oeo Rd.

General Manager of Service Delivery and Systems Operations, Ian Skipworth, said 70 poles on the upper section of Oeo Rd were already up and the other work would be completed in the first three months of next year.

“Many of the old poles have deteriorated over the years because of their proximity to the sea,” he said. “The concrete has become brittle through the combined effects of corrosion and weathering. That has made them susceptible in storms and high winds.”

Work planned early next year would be completed in three stages to help minimize disruption to people along the route.

“Two local contractors, Obertech and Linepower, will share the work. They will have as many crewmen as possible on site to complete the job as quickly as possible during any planned outages.”

“Stage one involves erecting about 100 poles from just south of Opunake to Patiki Rd at Pihama with stage two from Patiki to Oeo Rd. The final section is up Oeo Rd to the end point of the just completed work.”

Other equipment on the line, including switches, transformers and conductor, would be inspected during the pole replacement.

More work was planned in the area during the remainder of 2019 as part of the five-year, $1.27 billion upgrade of its North Island network. 

Smaller maintenance upgrades were an important part of that work.

“As an example Linepower recently completed a job for us to a remote property on Niagara Rd, 13km inland from Patea. The sole customer on the road had experienced a series of outages and inspection revealed the poles and conductor needed urgent work. We replaced six poles and 1.2km of conductor.”

While the costs of the upgrade would be hard for Powerco to recoup it was important all customers received the same level of commitment from the company, Ian said.

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