Lyttelton powered by generators during upgrade

22 August 2017 at 12:00 am

Orion is undertaking a major project to increase the resilience of the Lyttelton’s electricity network on Wednesday 13 September. Orion will be keeping the power on while it does this work, bringing in two huge generators, plus back-up generators for the business area, so the community can continue to operate.

What:    Upgrade to the overhead lines that power Lyttelton
Where:  Lyttelton, Corsair Bay, and Cass Bay will be placed on alternative generation
When:   Wednesday 13 September, from 8.30am until 4.30pm

lyttelton powerlines

Above: In Heathcote, one set of poles will soon become two

What are we doing?

Orion is in the process of upgrading the power network servicing Lyttelton, Corsair Bay and Cass Bay to improve resilience and reliability for the area. Lyttelton’s power supply comes from the Heathcote substation and is fed on two overhead lines on one common set of poles traversing the Port Hills. The reliability of these lines has been an issue in the past due to a combination of exposure to the environment and the proximity of the lines.

Essentially, our upgrade will involve spacing the lines on separate poles at the junction points in Heathcote and Lyttelton, so that when a fault occurs on one line, it can be safely repaired while the other line keeps the network operational.

How will this affect me?

To complete the upgrade and switch the lines onto their new poles, the mains power will need to be switched off and the community will be powered by generators for around eight hours, between 8.30am and 4.30pm, on Wednesday 13 September. Please note, our contingency date is Wednesday 20 September.

Orion is committed to keeping the township of Lyttelton and the adjacent bays operational. With the assistance of the Lyttelton Port Company, two container sized, 40ft, 2500 kVA generators will be relocated to Lyttelton to continue to supply the more than 500 businesses, essential services, education centres and residents in this community with an alternative power supply for the day.

Generated power can be less stable than mains power. We ask the community to please bear with us if the supply fluctuates during the day, and conserve power where possible to help us remain within the capacity of our generators. Please turn over to find tips on how you can lower your consumption.

There will still be one brief outage around 4.30pm on Wednesday 13 September to switch the community over on to the upgraded network.

lyttelton generator

Above: One of the two 40ft, 2500 kVA generators being temporarily relocated to the Lyttelton Port Company to supply generation during the upgrade

How can I get more information?

If you would like to be emailed more information as it becomes available regarding this upgrade, please email us at with Lyttelton updates in the subject line. If there is anything we need to be made aware of, please email us at or call 03 363 9898 to be put through to our Contact Centre which operates 24/7.

See the Latest News section on Orion’s website for up to date information about this upgrade project, delays or change of dates

Please lower your power consumption

We would like the whole community to benefit from the alternative generation on Wednesday 13 September, but to ensure this is possible there’s a few things you can do to help not just us out, but also your neighbours.

  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices the night before.
  • Switch off unused appliances at the wall
  • Turn off lights where possible
  • Take shorter showers, and if possible the night before instead
  • Avoid doing tasks like using a dryer or washing machine, plan to do this another day that week
  • Turn your heaters off where you don’t need them
  • Turn heated towel rails off
  • Businesses: Please plan your business activities around this date, undertaking tasks which require heavy power consumption could put the community’s power supply at risk.

Be prepared

In the unlikely event that the generation supply is overused and there is an outage during the day, we will work very hard to get everyone’s lights back on. Please take some precautions in the case of an outage, and remember there will be one brief outage around 4.30pm to transfer the community on to the new upgraded network.

  • Make sure any battery powered devices that you need, such as laptops and cell phones are charged the night before 

  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door is and how to operate it  

  • Purchase ice to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage  

  • If you need to use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home 

  • If you rely on anything that is power dependent like a medical device, determine a backup plan, and contact your electricity retailer for more information 

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires  

  • During an outage, turn off or disconnect appliances in case of a momentary power ‘surge’ that can damage computers or other devices 

Thank you!

We understand the power supply to Lyttelton hasn’t been as reliable as it needs to be. This project will provide a more resilient power supply to Lyttelton and fewer outages in the future. This upgrade is part of a long-term programme of work to ensure greater surety of service to Lyttelton and the adjacent bays.