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Protection of the Cook Strait Cable critical

Media release

3 February 2014

Protection of the Cook Strait Cable critical

Transpower said today that the importance of the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Cook Strait Cable was highlighted recently when the master of a ship was prosecuted for anchoring in the Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone (CPZ).

The CPZ protects vital submarine electricity and telecommunication cable links between the North and South Islands. The cables form part of the HVDC inter-island link which transfers power between the North and South Island.

To protect the cables, there are important restrictions on the activities that can be carried out in the CPZ. Activities such as fishing and anchoring, are in violation of the Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996. Penalties for breaching the Act can result in fines of up to $250,000 as well as the forfeiture of the vessel.

Corporate Communications Manager Rebecca Wilson said that the protection of the submarine cables of the HVDC inter-island link is critical to ensuring a secure supply of electricity in both the North and South Islands.

“The HVDC link can at times provide up to 40% of the North Island electricity load, or an even greater amount of the South Island load, especially in dry years when the hydro lakes are low and North Island generation is needed to cover South Island demand.”

“There have been previous incidents where trawling equipment, other fishing gear and anchors have caught on the undersea cables and caused damage. The repair of these cables can cost up to $60 million, and damage to the cables can put the security of electricity supply to the country at risk.”

“With the holiday season approaching, and an increase of boats on the water, fishermen and divers should familiarise themselves with the restrictions in the CPZ to ensure their activities are compatible with the operation of the HVDC submarine cables. Further information on the CPZ is available at https://www.transpower.co.nz/resources/cook-strait-cable-booklet,’ she said.

ENDS

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