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Line Companies To Examine Supply

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
For immediate release

LINE COMPANIES TO EXAMINE SUPPLY

Seven electricity lines companies have joined forces in a research project that could lead to lower costs and better supply for consumers. The project looks at ways of improving the performance of network equipment and for software to help manage the equipment more effectively. This should help reduce the number of outages as well as lower costs. The companies - UnitedNetworks, Northpower, Wel Energy, Powerco, CentralPower, PowerNet and Delta Utility Services - have set up an incorporated society, Strategic Technology Programme (NZ) Inc, as a vehicle to manage the research. Initial providers include the universities of Auckland and Canterbury as well as Industrial Research Ltd and EA Technology (UK). "It's mainly research and development," says Stephen Drew of Wellington company Transfer-Tech Ltd, which helped to set up the scheme. The project has been helped by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - which invests in research into new products, processes or services. Mr Drew says the scheme is similar to one developed by EA Technology in Britain, which is the research wing of the former power boards there. Richard Gibbons, a former general manager of Mercury Energy, is manager of the new society. "It's something that's happening around the world. Power suppliers everywhere are looking at how they can get a better grip of what's going on - how they can work together to improve supply," Mr Gibbons says. The project will identify, for example, whether new computing software will help analyse systems more effectively. It can help identify where new equipment can increase security of supply and thus reliability of supply. However, he says New Zealand's power supply already works well by world standards. "Our line companies' published performance figures compare well with the rest of the world." -ends-

Contact: * Stephen Drew, Transfer-Tech Ltd, Johnsonville, Wellington. Ph: (04) 477-4421. Fax: (04) 477-4423.

* Richard Gibbons, Strategic Technology Programme (NZ), Inc, 14 Tui Cres, Oratia, Auckland. Ph/Fax: (09) 814-9623. Mobile: 025 764 712. Email: r.gibbons@xtra.co.nz

* Philip Mowles, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Ph: (04) 498-7845 or 025 815-426. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by I D Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email: ian@idcomm.co.nz


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