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Failure exposes fragile power grid; costs $50m+

Media statement Monday, June 12th, 2006

Today’s failure exposes fragile power grid; costs $50m +

Today’s power failure demonstrated the fragility of Auckland’s power supply, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

“That a break on a 110KV line can take out Auckland shows the need for reinforcing the power supply into the city,” said Alasdair Thompson, EMA’s chief executive.

“The outage cost Auckland business and the public many millions in lost work, unused production capacity and overheads, and inconvenience.

“The lost work time cost was about $50 million alone. (Average hourly rate of $21.29 multiplied by five hours lost and 500,000 people affected - 653,000 people are employed in the Auckland region.

“The outage is unacceptable. We need a full report on its cause from Transpower.

“We need assurances that the impasse is resolved between the Electricity Commission and Transpower, and that Transpower is on track to upgrade the high voltage link to Auckland.

“The failure demonstrated the need to underground the high voltage link from the Bombay hills to the city, or otherwise reinforce power transmission to Auckland, or more investment and jobs will be lost.”

ENDS

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