Orion boosts power supply to Lyttelton

5 February 2019

Lyttelton is set to welcome the long awaited boost to its power supply when Orion puts through a new 11kV electricity cable through the Lyttelton Road Tunnel in March.

The 2.2km cable will run in tandem with the existing two 11kV cables that run over the Port Hills. Together they will provide a more resilient and reliable service to the Lyttelton, Corsair Bay and Cass Bay community.

Orion says the Tunnel will remain open, and the power will stay on throughout the work.

The project is the culmination of three years of work by Orion to address reliability and resilience issues with the power supply to Lyttelton.

Steve Macdonald, Orion’s General Manager Infrastructure, said, “The work we’ve done over the past three years has really helped improve the reliability of the electricity service to this community, and this is the big hitter that will make all the difference.

“The lines over the hill are vulnerable to weather, vegetation and pests. With the cable we have alternatives to keep the power on.

“A cable through the tunnel provides the belt and braces service this community needs. The Port is an essential lifeline for Canterbury and increasing the resilience of the power supporting it is important for the wider region.”

To allow for future growth, the new cable, actually three separate single core cables, has a power rating of 10 Megawatts, 3 Megawatts greater than the current average demand.

Following some preparatory trenching to provide a channel from the tunnel to Orion’s substation in Dublin Street the work will take two weeks in March. The work will be done at night, pulling the cable through the exhaust ventilation duct above the carriageway.

“It’s the longest 11kV cable pull in Orion’s history, and gravity will help us as we’ll be pulling it downhill from Heathcote,” said Macdonald.