Lyttelton to go off-grid for a day

4 September 2017

Orion is installing two huge generators so the lights don’t go out in Lyttelton while it undertakes a major project to improve the reliability of the town’s electricity supply.

Orion generators being installed in Lyttelton

Transported from QE11 Park where they supported power service to the east of the city after the earthquakes, the two 12 x 7 metre double container-sized generators are being installed in the Port, with the support of the Lyttelton Port Company.

The generators will power Lyttelton, Cass Bay and Corsair Bay during the eight hours the town needs to be off-grid from 8:30am to 4:30pm on 13 September while the upgrade work is completed.

Orion Chief Executive, Rob Jamieson, said, “These generators are two of the largest in the country, and they proved their worth after the earthquakes powering the east from QE11, where they are no longer needed. It is great to be able to set them to work helping out another community.

“The people of Lyttelton have had to put up with more than their fair share of power cuts in the past, and this project will mean fewer outages, and we’ll be able to get the power back on more quickly if needs be.

“This is a unique chance for us to use specialist equipment to generate enough power to keep a whole community running for a day.”

The electricity upgrade project involves increasing the distance between the termination poles at the Heathcote and Lyttelton ends of the overhead power lines that service the community.

Lyttelton’s power supply comes from the Heathcote zone substation and is fed on two overhead lines on one common set of poles that traverse the Port Hills. As a consequence of the proximity of the poles, the risk of outages caused by environment-related impacts from wind, debris, and wildlife is compounded.

Currently if there is a fault on one line, often power has to be cut to both lines to repair the fault, because the lines are placed too closely together and pose a significant health and safety risk to repair crews. During any future outages, power will be more quickly restored as one line supplying the area can be kept on while Orion works to repair the other.

Orion is also bringing in additional, back-up generators to ensure consistent power for the town’s central business area.

For more information, see the Work Notice:  Lyttelton powered by generators during upgrade