Electricity grid to get $50m upgrade in April


Today, Transpower accelerated $50 million of work on the national grid, thus much required work on high-voltage power pylons will now be maintained from April on, which otherwise could have been waiting up to 10 years. 

There would be added benefits of increasing employment opportunities for local laborers and suppliers in the funding, which is due to begin April. According to Transpower chief executive Dr. Patrick Strange, "This is essential maintenance work on existing towers and foundations, rather than a major new project. But it is important work for the grid." 

"The work has relatively high labor and New Zealand material costs. Much of the work is going to be contracted out to regional contractors and employers - valuable work at the time an economic slowdown," Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee informed. 

In April, stage one is commencing, which involves basic maintenance and strengthening of towers that also includes foundations. Under this, there would be improvement in access tracks and civil works on substations and also towers would be painted. 

Mr. Brownlee confirmed, "A further $50 million [stage two] of infrastructure work on the grid involving conductor upgrading is also planned pending regulatory approval."

The upgrades of tower insulators pending regulatory approval from the Electricity Commission would be included in stage two.