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Minor Auck grid consent takes more than 2 years

Nick Smith
National Party Energy Spokesman

14 June 2006

Minor Auck grid upgrade consent takes more than 2 years

The Government is misleading the country when it claims the Resource Management Act is not contributing to a fragile electricity infrastructure, says National’s Energy spokesman Nick Smith.

“Two years ago Transpower applied to the Auckland City Council for consent for minor upgrade work on lines between the Otahuhu and Henderson substations.

“This is a minor consent that simply allows an existing line to be used at a greater capacity for only 20 minutes on not more than 3 occasions per year during a forced outage.

“It involves no new towers, no increase in voltage, but only minor changes to the cross-arms to enable safe operation at the higher capacity.

“A two-year temporary approval was given while Transpower applied for a permanent resource consent.

“Two years on, Transpower still has no consent and it won’t even get a hearing until later this year. That means that consent could take three years for what is a minor project.

“If it takes more than two years to get a minor Transpower consent of this sort under the RMA, there is no hope that the weaknesses that caused Monday’s blackout can be fixed quickly.

“Such delays are unacceptable and indicative of the roadblocks the RMA is placing in front of the country obtaining reliable infrastructure.

“The Government has its head in the sand on problems with the Resource Management Act. It is ignoring the advice of its own officials, electricity companies and independent experts.

“It should not take another blackout for common sense on the RMA to prevail.”

ENDS

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