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TLC’s Te Waireka substation with the current switch room at front right. The new switch room will be located at front right.

More investment in Ōtorohanga power supply

17 July 2019

Stage two of a major upgrade at Ōtorohanga’s Te Waireka substation will begin before Christmas.

The Lines Company (TLC) is replacing one of the original switchboards at the substation with a made-to-order switchboard from Germany. The new technology will arrive before Christmas for housing into a purpose-built building. Site work in preparation will begin around November and the work is likely to take around four months.

The arrival of the new switchboard is stage two of a three-stage upgrade of the substation at Te Waireka Road. The first stage was completed in February 2019  when two 10 Megawatt transformers were replaced with 15 Megawatt units built in Vietnam.

General manager – network Mike Fox said all up around $3.6 million will be spent on the Te Waireka substation but that was only part of a wider investment into Ōtorohanga and the surrounding area.

“This substation is our largest and feeds electricity to more than 3,000 customers in Ōtorohanga and north of the town so the substation upgrade is certainly a major project on its own,” he said.

“But over five years or so, we will have invested around $6 million directly in Ōtorohanga, by the time you take into account the substation and the major line renewal work.”

Fox said while some of the investment replaced old equipment and therefore improved reliability, it also future-proofed the supply by catering for growth, particularly in and north of the town.

When complete, the work means Ōtorohanga will have a full back-up supply. The work also supports the work to guarantee a more reliable back-up for Arohena.  Last month TLC confirmed it would invest $1.7 million on the Arohena supply; work which could now go ahead because of the upgrades at Te Waireka and Hangatiki substations.

“This is very a very positive thing for Ōtorohanga and the wider district.  It means we’re getting in front of growth; not getting in the way of it and it’s going to mean a more reliable supply,” he said.

“Part of TLC’s role is planning for and supporting economic investment in the King Country. To thrive, our community needs reliable infrastructure and we’re an important part of that.”

The third and final stage of the Te Waireka substation upgrade will involve a second new switchboard, likely to be installed in 2022.


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