Our network spans 4,500 kilometres of overhead and underground electricity lines and cables. It services over 33,000 power consumers in the Far North region from northern Hūkerenui to Cape Reinga.
Apart from the three main population centres of Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Kaikohe, much of the region’s terrain is rugged and sparsely populated.
Built largely during the ‘60s and ‘70s, the network’s capacity has experienced significant demand increases in recent years, particularly on the fast-growing Eastern seaboard. It is also constantly under threat by crowding, fast-growing vegetation, encouraged by the warmer average temperatures and abundant rainfall typical of the region.
Capacity and reliability investment
Under the current network development plan, we have invested over $185million in improving our electricity network. This has increased capacity in Kerikeri, upgraded our sub-transmission network, and provided a new substation in Kaeo and emergency generation in Kaitaia, Taipa, Omanaia and Pukenui.
Over the next 10 years, a further $184million investment is planned to improve the safety, security, and reliability of our electricity supply in the Far North.
- Upgrading the Wiroa substation 110kV to 110kV
- A new submarine cable to the Russell peninsula that gives the area an alternative electricity supply route.
- 11kV Feeder protection automation and interconnection for faster outage resolution.
- Ongoing upgrades and maintenance of the 33kV and 11kV networks. Future-proofing our network to accommodate the growth in distributed renewable generation and electric vehicle charging.
The majority of the development work will be conducted by Top Energy’s Contracting Services division, which has shown resilience through the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to provide high levels of service to our customers.
Rooftop photovoltaic generation is on the increase in the Far North. In fact, the region has the second highest penetration of network-connected rooftop photovoltaic generation in the country.
Currently, there is more than 8MW of solar generation connected to our network. This represents 1,500 customers and continues to grow monthly.