24 Aug 2018

Dunedin power pole on lean needed replacing in 2015

From Checkpoint, 5:42 pm on 24 August 2018

Efforts to fix a leaning, rotten power pole in Dunedin this week has been labelled as a public relations exercise.

Pole 84194, in the suburb of Green Island, is rotten, on a precarious lean, and is loaded with high-voltage assets and right next door to a school, a busy main street and a local pub.

The pole was red-tagged for replacement in June, but it had actually been flagged for replacement in 2015.

After media coverage this week, a concrete block was placed at its base and a $250,000 crane truck was attached to the top.

Richard Healey, a former employee of lines company Aurora, said the concrete block was nothing more than a PR exercise.

"It looks really good when you've got a big heavy concrete block strapped to the bottom of the pole, so this isn't about reducing risk, this is about about addressing public perception."

The pole was inspected in 2015 and was in a condition that required replacement at that time, it was also left off the company's fast-track pole programme which cost $30 million and ended in December last year.

Mr Healey described Aurora's pole testing programme as shambolic and said he was not surprised at the delay.

Lines company Aurora said the pole would be replaced next week.