NETcon´s distribution team recently completed a large project in the High Country.
Alpine Energy’s network upgrade required the removal of the Glentanner Substation. The substation used to step down a 33kV power line to 11kV. It is now bypassed and the whole line from Unwin Hut to Ferintosh runs at 33kV.
As part of the project six 11kV/400V transformers were replaced by 33kV/400V transformers. One power pole had to be changed in order to carry the load of the bigger transformer. Seven kilometres of power line were surveyed and inspected, and insulator discs were checked and replaced were required. The project had also a historic touch with the removal of the last Ball and Chain Circuit Breaker in the Alpine Energy network.
Over 30 people were involved in the project. Contractors from the West Coast and Christchurch assisted the NETcon team to ensure all work could be finished within the planned two day outage. Due to the worksite’s remote location staff was accommodated in Twizel and commuted each day to and from site. For line mechanic trainees Bill Whitley, Derek Kohe, Patrick Prendeville, and Sam Brosnahan this was the first big field trip. NETcon has been training line mechanics for many years. It’s important that trainees get exposure to the variety of work NETcon carries out.
The Glentanner project offered a great opportunity for the trainees to work in a remote location and alongside other contractors. Due to high electricity demand and ever changing technology the career path for line mechanics offers variety, challenges, and security. It is also often rewarded with scenic workplaces.