New Zealand

Aurora faces court action for network reliability breaches

Aurora faces court action for network reliability breaches

By Gavin Evans

Sept. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Aurora Energy faces court action after breaching its reliability standards for two years running.

The company, which operates the electricity networks in Dunedin, Queenstown and Central Otago, under-invested in asset maintenance and renewal, resulting in the deterioration of many of its poles, cables and transformers, the Commerce Commission said.

“The commission considers that this led to an increased level of power outages and therefore significantly contributed to Aurora’s breaches of the quality standards,” the regulator said in a statement. It has now filed proceedings with the High Court.

Aurora faces a maximum penalty of up to $5 million on each of the breaches for the 2016 and 2017 years. The commission noted that Aurora has also breached its performance standards for the year to the end of March.

Aurora, owned by Dunedin City Council, last year restructured its business, established a new board and brought in new management after a review by Deloitte found the firm had been underspending on maintenance for decades. The review specifically faulted the structure of the business, in which council-owned Delta Utilities – Aurora’s maintenance contractor - shared common management and directors with Aurora and Dunedin City Holdings.

The council initiated the review after Aurora failed to keep up with an escalating programme to replace failing wooden poles across its networks. The company had been planning to seek a new customised price and quality path from the Commerce Commission to help cope with that work and strong load growth around Queenstown.

But the new management deferred that and in May appointed engineering consultancy WSP to carry out an independent review of the firm’s assets and help identify priority work areas.

Last month chief executive Richard Fletcher announced that Hastings-based Unison Contracting and Christchurch-based Connetics would join Delta to carry out Aurora's maintenance and renewal work during the next five years. The new contracts take effect in April and the firms will establish local bases in the area.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

Football news:

This is the best Milan in years: superkambekom with Juve (3 goals in 5 minutes!) saved the intrigue in Serie A
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I am the President, player and coach! If I had been in Milan since the start of the season, we would have taken the scudetto
Sarri on the defeat by Milan: we played first-class football for 60 minutes. Then-turbidity
Pioli on the victory over Juve: Milan became a team. We can play even better
Pioli beat Juventus for the first time as a coach
Vardy has scored 10 goals for Arsenal in Premier League matches. Only Rooney has more
Ronaldo scores or gives an assist in 17 consecutive Serie A matches, where he scored 25 (21+4) points