How WEL Networks Responded To The Nationwide Power Emergency
WEL Networks is a 100% community owned network company with a mission ‘to enable our communities to thrive’. Unfortunately the nationwide power emergency that happened on Monday night was completely out of WEL’s control.
"We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience it caused," says WEL Networks Chief Executive Garth Dibley.
"We were dealing with a rapidly evolving emergency situation and communicated with customers as soon as we accurately understood the extent of the situation.
"We do wish to clarify our role and actions to help bring the emergency situation to an end as soon as possible. The emergency was triggered by the Government owned national grid operator Transpower that controls the power delivered to every network company. As the System Operator it was Transpower’s place to initially explain how the nationwide emergency situation occurred and the errors they made in the allocation of load control. We would now like to clarify the actions we undertook to help resolve this nationwide emergency as quickly as possible.
"Under Government regulation we must adhere to instruction from the System Operator in an emergency and that is exactly what we did. It should be noted that we were instructed to act with immediate effect and did not have visibility of the deficit in generation that Transpower was trying to manage or what has been requested of others.
We did repeatedly question Transpower regarding the volume of load they instructed us to drop, however Transpower was insistent on the volume. WEL was asked to reduce load by more than 20%, well above the national average. It should be noted there is regulation that requires Transpower to undertake best endeavours to reduce load evenly across all its customers. Transpower subsequently confirmed they had miscalculated the load on our network which contributed to the excessive load reduction requirement.
The selection of customers was as per our ‘Rolling Outage Plan’, which is approved by Transpower and is available on our website. We simply acted in accordance with our published plan.
The timeline in the attached PDF document clarifies the actions that WEL undertook during this unplanned nationwide emergency.
"WEL Networks’ response was in direct accordance with the industry rule which is to avoid total loss of power to our country and we acknowledge and apologise to those customers who experienced an outage. I would also ask that people understand that we acted in good faith with Transpower’s instructions and for people to please be considerate towards WEL staff, who were doing what they were directed to in order to help avoid a much more severe outcome for the country."