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Upper South Island planning well advanced

Upper South Island planning well advanced

4 June 2004

The Chair of the Electricity Commission, Roy Hemmingway, today outlined the key elements of the plan being developed to minimise the prospect of involuntary power cuts in the Upper South Island this winter.

The Electricity Commission and Transpower have been working with lines companies, retail electricity companies, high-load customers, and others to put together a plan to maintain system security in the light of a potential shortage of transmission capacity in the region.

“This plan will reassure South Island residents and businesses that there will be only a minimal chance of involuntary power cuts this winter,” said Roy Hemmingway, Chair of the Electricity Commission, the industry regulator.
Mr Hemmingway said that the plan is made up of actions that can be put into place during times of peak load, typically between 5-7pm on weekday evenings. These actions include:

• full ripple control of water heating by lines companies
• additional use of customer-owned generation
• maximising output at existing generators
• switching Timaru to service from other transmission lines so that it does not add to
the upper South Island load
• adding capacitors to at least one local network
• paying some high-load customers to reduce demand
• adding “intertrip” devices on Transpower’s network to allow lines to carry power above capacity with greater certainty that, in the event a line fails, overall system security will be maintained

“With these initiatives in place, there is every chance that consumers in the region will not be inconvenienced this winter. While additional work is still needed to firm up the timetable for all these actions, it is anticipated that the majority of measures needed to deal with a peak load event should be in place by the middle of next week.

“The high level of cooperation and effort by Transpower, the Ministry of Economic Development, the lines companies, the retail electricity companies, and electricity customers has made it possible for this plan to be put together in such a short time,” concluded Mr Hemmingway.


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