Demand to drive major investment in The Lines Company electricity network
5 April 2018
A forecast jump in electricity demand will see The Lines Company (TLC) investing a further $5 million each year to future-proof the King Country-Ruapehu electricity network.
TLC released its annual asset management plan today, showing it intends lifting capital expenditure by 50 per cent – to $15 million per year – each year over the next decade.
Network development general manager Mike Fox said the increase has been partly driven by a projected 25 per cent jump in demand on the network.
“A stable and reliable electricity supply is critical to our region’s growth and we must respond to that. We need to invest in assets that support economic development,” he said.
“Over the next 10 years, we’re expecting around 25 per cent more growth-driven demand including from the new dairy factory and the proposed Waikeria Prison upgrade which is expected to increase residential growth around Ōtorohanga.”
Mr Fox said the asset management plan, a publicly-available document, is a “warts and all” picture of TLC’s network. It clearly shows the condition of all TLC assets and details planned work for the next 12 months. The plan also includes a 10-year road map for managing and improving network performance.
“Supporting new development is critical to regional growth but we still need to maintain the assets that we have,” he said.
“Over the next decade, we’ll continue our comprehensive line renewal programme targeting areas where network performance is below standard. We’ll also be focusing on increasing the reliability of supply to our substations across the network.”
In the plan, TLC has earmarked $20 million across the next 10 years to maintain and improve supply from key substations. Work upgrading the Te Waireka substation at Ōtorohanga is already underway. A $5 million transformer upgrade at the Hangatiki substation, which supplies more than 9,000 customers, is scheduled from May 2018.
Increasing the cable capacity at Ohakune’s supply point and potential back-up supply for Ohakune are also signalled.
Mr Fox said as well as supporting regional growth and meeting increasing demand, the plan would reduce safety risks to staff and public and ensure the reliability of supply. TLC’s planning was now much more closely aligned to international standards and built on robust technical information from previous plans, he said.
“Our job is simple; we have to keep the power on and our customers connected. To do that we have to invest in such a way that reduces the risk of power outages improves safety and ensures we find the best possible balance between safety, service and cost.”
TLC currently supplies 381 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year, enough to meet the annual needs of 48,000 average New Zealand households. TLC has around 24,000 connected customers spread across 13,700km2.
TLC’s 2018 Asset Management Plan is available at thelinescompany.co.nz with feedback to AMP2018@thelines.co.nz invited and encouraged.