Upgrading essential infrastructure for regional energy resilience

In February and March, we undertook a significant upgrade project to strengthen the power network in Gisborne’s CBD. The works involved drilling and trenching to replace and upgrade an 11kV underground cable, along with installing and upgrading associated network assets.

Work continues on splitting the Kaiti and Coast 50kV feeders, which will provide greater resilience and protection from outages for the coast.

We’re also replacing the Patutahi substation, which will increase capacity from 5MW to 12.5MW and support the growth in energy demand from horticultural areas.

In Mahia, peak demand exceeds transformer and line capacity, which has resulted in a moratorium on new power connections. We’ve now purchased a new transformer; the next steps are to build a substation and upgrade the line.

Our regular pole inspection and replacement programme has been accelerated, and is progressing well across the region.

Out on Back Ormond Road, we partnered with the developer to design and install matt black power poles in a new residential subdivision. The previous poles were due for replacement as part of the Network's Asset Management Plan. So this was an opportunity to think creatively about how the new poles could blend in with their surroundings, rather than standing out.

Similar designs could be used in other parts of Tairāwhiti in future.

We’re liaising with Gisborne District Council as they look at their long-term planning for housing in this region. This will help inform the Network’s asset replacement and upgrade plans.