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Report confirms Auckland blackout preventable

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Energy Spokesman

11 July 2006

Report confirms Auckland blackout preventable

Auckland’s blackout on June 12 would have been prevented if proper inspections had been carried out correctly, says National Party Energy spokesman Nick Smith.

“The Connell-Wagner report, released today, contradicts an earlier Transpower report which said there was no proof that the failing shackles were inspected in 2003.

“It is an indictment of Transpower that the paper trail around this critical infrastructure does not exist. Connell-Wagner concluded that either the inspection didn’t occur or that it was not done properly, as it would have been obvious that the shackles were in bad shape in 2003.

“The report also confirms that the Otahuhu substation was sub-standard in having key strategic lines cross each other. This should have been identified and fixed long ago. The fact that it wasn’t confirms that Transpower has not been sufficiently focussed on ensuring security of electricity supply.

“The worry with the Transpower failure in Auckland is that it was followed in the same month by grid failures in Rotorua and Bay of Plenty.”

Dr Smith says the whole system is on the blink.

“National wants to see urgent action by Government in getting investment and maintenance of the transmission grid up to the proper standard.

“The madness is that Labour has just given the SOEs the mandate to expand their business outside their core functions.

“The lesson from this failure is that Transpower, which has engaged in complex financial arrangements of leasing parts of the grid for multi-million dollar fees, would be better to keep to its core responsibility of keeping the lights on,” says Dr Smith.

Ends

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