Irrigation interruption testing

6 November 2019 at 11:42 am

Orion will be testing its Irrigation Interruptibility Scheme over the summer.

During the test, the power to irrigators that are part of scheme will be switched off for 30 minutes.

Irrigation uses a significant amount of electricity in central Canterbury.  Under the scheme, Orion pays rebates to customers who allow them to interrupt the supply to designated irrigators during a capacity emergency to help keep the power on for the wider community.

Used only rarely, the scheme allows Orion to reduce the load to irrigators leaving sufficient capacity remaining in the network to continue to supply electricity to more essential services, such as dairy sheds and medical centres. 

Orion says it is important to test the scheme to know what they can expect when it is implemented.

The test will be conducted when irrigation loads are high, at some time over the summer period. Orion says it will not conduct the test during the Christmas holiday period.

David Freeman-Greene Orion General Manager Commercial says, “To truly test its effectiveness, unavoidably, this test needs to be undertaken during a period of high irrigation usage. 

“To be realistic, it needs to happen in a true to life situation and we cannot let customers know the date and time in advance.

“We have kept the duration down to a minimum in an effort to ensure the test does not inconvenience irrigators unduly when it happens.”

When the test is underway, Orion will put a notice on its website to let customers know it is happening, and when it has been completed. 

Orion is also offering the option to text those impacted when the test is happening.

If irrigation customers would like a text when the test is on, have any questions, or wish to discuss withdrawing from the scheme now or after the test, please call Orion on 0800 363 9898 or email