On Monday last week Taupo¯, Kinloch and nearby areas suffered a 10-hour power outage emanating from the Transpower Wairakei switchyard. This was the second such significant power outage experienced in this district during the last year. Apparently Unison is investigating why this happened. What Unison will need to find out is:
■ Was the 33KV fault caused by equipment from T29 transformer bank or from the 33KV substation near the old training school or from the interconnecting PILC cables?
■ Was the fault due to ageing equipment which had not been maintained?
■ Are there currently adequate spare components available for the ageing (circa 1957) T29 transformer bank including associated CTs and VTs?
■ What alternative source of supply is available if the 33KV from T29 fails — Bill Harding’s letter from last week is relevant here.
■ If Transpower has difficulties providing reliable power supplies to the Taupo¯ district, why cannot Trustpower, Contact Energy or Mercury Energy replace them? Outside of Unison’s investigation is it the liability of Transpower to reimburse the affected customers who lost power and revenue such as Mercury, Energy Online, other energy utilities, 15,963 customers in the retail and industrial sectors and 25,000 domestic customers in the Taupo¯ area? Who is addressing this requirement? After the last power outage no explanation of what was happening or not happening was provided to the Taupo public. The local radio stations had no information to advise the public. In this area the Transpower PR managers fell down badly and were silent. Does all of this disappointing news mean that another power industry restructuring is required? After all of the time which has elapsed since the break-up of NZ Electricity Department in 1987 do we not have a smooth-running extremely efficient and reliable powerproviding organisation available after the many restructurings that occurred? Even in 2018 the saying “It’s not where we want to be, it’s where we are!” is relevant.
J R LOUISSON