New connections show Auckland’s growth far from slowing
Vector saw a 22 per cent increase in new connections this year – the biggest leap the company has seen and further evidence Auckland’s growth is far from slowing.
Vector manages electricity distribution across the greater Auckland region and in the year to June added 11,135 new properties (ICPs*) to its power lines network.
Areas south of the harbour bridge had the biggest growth spurt with new connections increasing 34 per cent year on year, compared to a modest 9 per cent increase north of the harbour bridge.
One fifth of the new connections can be linked to just 23 new residential apartment blocks and retirement homes added to the market.
Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha said while population growth in Auckland has slowed in the past year, construction of new residential housing is still on the rise.
“With projects like KiwiBuild set to take hold over the coming years these trends will continue and the challenge for us is to predict the type of network investment required to meet demand.
“What makes that process interesting is the expected rise of emerging technologies like solar and battery, as well as the take up of electric vehicles, because trends already show customers are exercising choice and making the most of declining prices.
“Vector is focused on investing in a way that meets customer growth from a long term, sustainable perspective, while also enabling customer choice and encouraging uptake of these emerging technologies,” he said.
A key focus of Vector’s network investment strategy is to further explore how customer owned emerging technologies and non-traditional network solutions - such as machine learning and artificial intelligence - can be leveraged to better manage Auckland’s growing and changing energy demands.
A specific focus of its partnerships with international technology companies is to develop smart energy management systems that efficiently and reliably direct energy across the network – regardless of whether the source is a residential solar panel or a southern hydro damn.
“Kiwi homes are becoming more energy efficient but society is becoming more electricity dependent, so as Auckland continues to grow we need to think hard about where all this energy is going to come from to keep pace with demand.
“This means that in addition to new poles, wires and transformers, network investment needs to consider the role of smart distribution systems - including distributed energy resources that our customers are adopting - because we know it will play an increasingly important role in enabling a sustainable and affordable new energy future.”