The old outdoor substation on Haven Rd will be replaced by the new substation, pictured with Nelson Electricity Ltd general manager Phil Goodall. Photos: Andrew Board.

Lights out for ageing substation


Nelson’s ageing power substation that supplies the central Nelson city area will be turned off over the next six weeks, as the city’s new $11 million replacement and also new 33,000 volt cable from Transpowers Stoke substation gets switched on for the first time.

The new indoor substation built at the back of Nelson Electricity Ltd on Haven Rd, will replace the outdoor station at the front of the same property, which was first turned on in 1959 and has powered Nelson city since.

The new substation incorporates the latest technology, says Nelson Electricity general manager, Phil Goodall, it will cater for the long term electricity demands of the city and provide increased security around the supply of power. “If a transformer, 33kV feeder or switch fails, our protection systems will be able to isolate that piece of equipment and continue to supply the city at the same time. It’s exceptional quality.”

Power to each of the homes and businesses the substation services – from the edge of Atawhai to Boundary Road in Bishopdale – will however be switched off for one to two minutes as the power is transferred to the new substation says Phil, the switch over will be staged over several weeks and will start in early March. “The timing of outages is a compromise and is set at 7:00am as this is outside of business hours, and at the same time has minimal impact on residential consumers. If we do it during the night then it will cut people’s alarm clocks, there is no perfect time.”

The old substation will be pulled down after the switchover, and the land it sits on will be cleared and used as a yard for Nelson Electricity in the meantime. Phil says there are no long term plans for the land just yet.

“This is great news for Nelson, it’s a purpose-built 50 year asset that incorporates the latest modern equipment and because it’s hidden away most people will never see it. When the old substation comes down it will have quite a dramatic impact on the landscape in Nelson, for the better.”

The project has cost more than $11 million, but that has been factored into current line charges, although there will be an increase in line charges from April 1 due to a 20 per cent increase in transmission costs.

Nelson Electricity services more than 9000 customers.

Phil says when the old substation goes it will be the “end of an era”.

For the latest information refer to the Nelson Electricity website