Delta #EpicPowerFail 3 : Rotten Poles and Greedy Algorithms

design-open-badges-university-college-london-slidesharecdn-com-1aGrady’s old poster (office)

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 at 11:10 p.m.

Readers, do you know what an algorithm is ? OK, make a brew and consider this while letting the Bells blend with the white stuff : WiseGeek advises that an algorithm is “a set of detailed instructions which results in a predictable end-state” (that’s geek for : “result”), however it also cautions that algorithms are only as good as the instructions given.

WiseGeek goes on to say that examples of the algorithmic, are instructions for assembling a model airplane, or, for the manually challenged among you, a computer programme ie simply, instructions in a set order, designed to perform a specific task….

Now, diving deeper, WiseGeek advises there are a number of different types of algorithm, with such esoteric names, as, “brute force algorithms”, “randomised algorithms”, and even backtracking algorithms (buy one of those quickly Grady !!), and my personal favourite, the “divide and conquer algorithm” (Yes Grady, Mr Crombie has bought one of those and was practising with it in today’s ODT….). Speaking of the ODT, if Vaughan Elder keeps up his sterling work, awards are beckoning for him, and deservedly so.

But the algorithm that Delta prefers and uses is the Greedy Algorithm, which is defined as an algorithm that “attempts to find not only a solution, but to find the ideal solution to any given problem”.

Now readers, stop stamping your feet, spilling the Bells and making the super wines all soggy (no madeira cake for you, ratepayers !). I understand that you don’t want to know about arcane formulas to balance electrical loads and the like, and how could algorithms possibly have anything to do with replacing rotten power poles ?

Within the “asset strategy” department of Delta – yes there is such a thing, and yes, they are six-figure inhabitants of the Delta payroll, there are some computer scientists, who have constructed a greedy algorithm to Grady’s specifications. Within the lines industry, this algorithm is the 8th wonder of the world. It can take a linesman’s power pole condition report, complete with photographs and evidence of rotten bases, and re-classify it from Condition 0 (immediate replacement) to Condition 4, 5, 6. This is a wonderful thing, because it enables Grady and his enablers to say that poles have been “rigorously tested by computer analysis”, and of course, computers are never wrong and are far more accurate than a few crusty old linesmen who only do actual visual inspection.

Your correspondent has been given information that recently, Chorus asked for permission to attach a Telecom line to an aged pole (is there any other sort in Dunedin?). The report from the field was that the pole was knackered. However, the computer had not been consulted, and the strategy department duly ran it through the algorithm, and it returned a classification of 0. Bad computer !! That was not “the ideal result !”. A bit of tough computer love ensued, and the pole was re-run through the algorithm again, and the pole re-emerged with a barely adequate rating of 2. There you go, said strategy, all fixed and ready to roll for Chorus ! “Not quite” said the people whose staff had to risk their lives getting up the pole, the pole is still had it ….regardless of what the algorithm says. Undeterred, the mad scientists of strategy ran the pole through the algorithm again and this time…. it yielded a rating of 4 ! Problem solved ! said the mad scientists, climb as high as you like – hook 10 Telecom lines on there !

The department responsible for the lines staff, then had had enough of the madness, and wrote an email that has become famous within Delta ….it said


This is the mad hatters world that Grady Cameron, Parton, Frow, Kempton, McLauchlan have created and presided over at Delta. A March hare would be envious.

If Delta had a belfry, bats would fly out of it.


Related Posts and Comments:
25.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 2 : Plaudits to Saunders & Elder : Delta FunnyMoney
22.10.16 DCC struggles with Governance…. Delta/Aurora/DCHL…
21.10.16 Dunedin City Council must hang the companies out to dry
20.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail : Delta fulfils Adam Smith’s 1776 Prophecy
19.10.16 Grady Cameron and Graham Crombie : Eyes tightly shut #FAIL
13.10.16 COMPLETE Dis-satisfaction with DCC, DCHL, DVML, DVL, Delta….
9.6.16 Aurora Energy Ltd warned by regulator

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *epic fraud* or *dchl* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: – design open badges University College London | overlay: – utilitypolelodging, tweaked by whatifdunedin


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, DCC, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Health, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Travesty, What stadium

40 responses to “Delta #EpicPowerFail 3 : Rotten Poles and Greedy Algorithms

  1. Elizabeth
  2. Elizabeth

    Mon, 25 Feb 2013
    ODT: Delta says it has learned from lineman’s death
    Delta Utility Services Ltd has upgraded its work practices since the death of Alexandra lineman Roger Allan Steel to “make sure we never have another workmate in this position again”, the company said yesterday. The inquest into the death of Mr Steel (63) at Millers Flat on December 9, 2010, was held on October 26 last year and Otago Southland coroner David Crerar released his finding yesterday. […] Delta was prosecuted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and was fined $75,000 in the Alexandra District Court in October 2011 after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work. The charge was laid by the then Labour Department, after investigating Mr Steel’s death. Mr Crerar made four recommendations to Delta about work practices and asked for his findings to be forwarded to the Electrical Engineers Association for ”wider distribution through the electrical supply industry”.
    ….He also recommended all “suspect” power poles should be red-tagged. Evidence was given that potentially unsafe wooden poles were given a red tag but it was harder to attach a red tag to a concrete pole.
    Mr [Grady] Cameron said Delta had taken remedial action including red-tagging all poles deemed unsafe to climb, the introduction of systems to quickly locate vehicles and employees wherever they were working and had also made changes to work instruction forms.

    It was reviewing the implication of the ”working in pairs” recommendation with the wider electrical supply industry, he said.

    • Richard Healey

      So, to be clear, one of the key issues that forced me to resign and go public was the discovery that the algorithms used to calculate pole condition after inspection failed to direct the inspectors to apply a red tag to condition 1 poles. There is no doubt about that. It is a fact.

      At the time. I believed that a little under 1000 poles had been inspected, but no tag applied. It transpired that the figure was closer to 1700.

      Naturally, my first thought was to issue a safety alert, a bulletin sent to all staff highlighting the danger. I was told to leave that to someone else. Two weeks later no alert had been issued. The company is on record as saying that the problem was urgently addressed. I continued to push for an alert.

      Into the third week I had had enough. I raised the matter directly at an operations meeting. I was told that an alert would be drafted by the network operations manager. My boss pointed out that I had already written an alert. He was ignored. He repeated himself and I was asked to forward my alert, which would be used as the basis for the final document. I did just that.

      To my horror I found that the wording of my version of the alert had been altered to water down the meaning dramatically. I had said that an investigation had found a condition 1 pole that had not been fitted with a red tag and that a systems failure meant that a large number (probably less than 1000) of similar poles were also missing tags.

      What came from the company was, an investigation had found that a red tag MAY have been missing from a pole and SOME other poles MAY also have missing tags.

      Your correspondent is correct about the algorithms used to assess pole strength at Delta. Shortly after discovering the red tag problem it was brought to my attention that the algorithm used to derive pole condition in the system known at Delta as XIVIC had been altered more than once and that some poles had gone from condition zero to six and back then onwards to another rating altogether. I was in the early stages of working out how large the problem is when I was forced to leave but I already had a list of more than 1000 affected poles.

      In fact, the precise tipping point for me came when one of Delta’s health and safety staff asked me to write some notes on the problem so that he could take them to Grady. I did that. He did that. Grady cancelled the meeting.

      I asked if the meeting had been rescheduled. I was advised that it had not. I was advised that the GM strategy and risk would present Grady with a “summary” of the notes.

      It had been suggested to me on many occasions that Grady was shielded from the truth of many matters at Delta by those immediately below him. I was keen to make sure that didn’t happen in this case. I wrote directly to Grady attaching the notes. He did not reply. Neither did anyone else. No one has replied to this day.

      I understand that the concept of honourable behaviour had not been fashionable for some time, however, in this case I suggest that the honourable thing to do should be obvious to many of the people involved.

      • nick

        Congratulations on your courageous stand Richard. You deserve to be reinstated once the scale of this policy of network neglect becomes apparent to those holding the spotlight.
        I have 8 poles running through my farm. 4 of them were red tagged yesterday. Such fast action!! A rotten one further east blew over 2 weeks back causing an 8 hour power outage in our area.
        I have come to realise that for the lines in Central Otago, Delta has recognised the problem of categorising unsafe poles is now easy. Let the wind blow them over first. Simple. Then there is no argument! And technically, they can claim ‘storm damage’ and not have to write it off against their network reliability stats. And dodge having to pay a ‘service delivery failure’ credit to their consumers.
        I hope Delta / Aurora has some very comprehensive Public Liability Insurance cover in place, because there is likely to be expensive court action coming their way if anyone anyone is killed or injured from falling poles. And possibly an insurer who will not be willing to even pay out over negligence.
        I am extremely cautious around the poles on my property during wind events.
        I am looking forward to seeing the Tartan Mafia piping you back into your office Richard once this all settles down.
        You deserve your job!!!

        • Richard Healey

          Thank you Nick.

          You are correct when you say that winds are often used as an excuse for pole failures. The exact figure varies, but poles are designed to withstand wind speeds of around 40ms, along with ice and snow loading. Not fit for design load means exactly that. The structure is not fit for the load that it was designed to handle, ie. It could fall down in light to moderate winds.

          I suggest that you contact Delta and quote the pole numbers of the structures that concern you. Ask what the condition assessment of those structures is and ask when they FIRST reached a condition state of 1 or below.

          It may interest you to know that the investigation that kicked this whole situation off took place on a station in Central Otago. One of the things that upset me most around that event was that many of the staff actually stated that I was overstating the problem because the pole was “in a feed paddock in Central Otago”. They saw a pole in a feed paddock, I saw a pole with a farm house 300m away in one direction and five more houses 400m away in the other. Country houses contain country kids. Country kids play in paddocks. Even adults are at risk. If that line falls across a fence and the protection doesn’t work, and it often doesn’t, then many hundreds of metres of fence become a lethal hazard. If I knew how to post images here I would put up a picture showing just how that happens.

          I hold no hope of reinstatement. When I said that my career of 35 years was over I meant just that. Raising these issues will not win me any employee of the month awards.

          Finally, please be careful on your farm. Country people have families too, I’d like you to return safely home to yours.

        • Elizabeth

          Richard, unfortunately you can’t post images directly into Comments but if you email them to ejkerr @ (site owner’s address) we can post them for you with any accompanying text or captions you wish to supply. We’re also happy to publish these as a new Post. -Eds

        • Elizabeth

          Photos from nick
          Thursday, 27 October 2016 6:43 p.m.

          Message: Attached pics of poles on my farm to accompany the notes I sent this morning. Without the wires to help hold them up, I guess some of them would have gone by now. You will find similar sights all over Central.

  3. Greta Good

    Well done CD. Question is….how many condition 0 and 1 poles were “disappeared” this way? Enough to perhaps not arouse the interest of anyone doing a desktop audit? And what effect did this have on the ability to determine and describe from the systems available (GIS for example) the state of a pole when formulating job sheets for linesmen? An especially important question when we consider that red tagging had been forbidden in recent times, with a ‘cease and desist’ order issued to crews dispatched to do just that.
    So what is it exactly that Delta learned from the tragic demise of Roger Steel? Stealth and skullduggery. Not one thing more.

  4. Elizabeth

    We note the Commerce Commission (industry regulator for lines companies) investigation into Aurora / Delta will be led by an ACCOUNTANT.

    This raises potential for interference and whitewash. Why?

    Because Our Mr Crombie is an ACCOUNTANT and an Associate Member of the Commission.

    Further, ACCOUNTANT Stuart McLauchlan is the longest-toothed Director of Aurora / Delta (appointed 01 Jun 2007).

    We want to avoid the likes of another Luggate / Jacks Point investigation whitewash due to the influence of McLauchlan, Cull & Co (upon the office and determinations of Lyn Provost, Controller and Auditor-general)….

    While Mr Crombie’s curtains at Drivers Rest, Clyde, were pulled tightly shut on the long weekend he probably made a few strategic phone calls.

    Yes, the old trick of the “limited” brief and associated review process, all manufactured to deliberately glance away from the reality of rorts, corruption and crimes – how to exonerate individual troughers and incompetents. The escape from personal and corporate acoountability and formal penalty.

    ComCom: Reassure us you will bring independent rigorous scrutiny to Aurora / Delta. Nothing else is acceptable.

  5. Elizabeth

    Thu, 27 Oct 2016
    ODT: Poles ‘ticking time bombs’
    Eric Gotlieb fears some power poles in his Andersons Bay neighbourhood are rotting so badly, they are basically “ticking time bombs” Cont/

    “Delta is in a high-risk industry and they’re not taking health and safety seriously; their employees could die. If my mate was to get a job there, my fear is he wouldn’t come home alive.”


    Thu, 27 Oct 2016
    ODT: Detailed map of dangerous poles
    The Otago Daily Times has been leaked a detailed map showing the location of dangerous power poles in Dunedin.
    The poles, which are part of Aurora Energy’s network, are made up of a mix of “condition zero” poles and “condition one poles”.
    Link to Map

    What should you do if there is a dangerous power pole near you? (via ODT)

    ● Call Aurora Energy and ask for details about the condition of the pole/s and ask about its replacement plans.
    ● Look out for movement over time, swaying in the wind, cracking, and the tension on the lines to your house increasing to the point where the barge board is damaged.
    ● Contact Aurora immediately if you notice any of the above happening.
    ● Consider not parking your car next to a damaged pole. 

    • According to the ‘leaked’ map, I don’t know why it had to be leaked, there is one such pole opposite my home. I will sue the responsible people if my car or home is damaged. Well done to Richard and yes he should be re-instated and recompensed for his loss of earnings and abuse he has suffered. I will contact Aurora. The investigation into Aurora/Delta needs to conclude in ACTION to replace faulty poles asap. Maybe they need a lawyer rather than accountants to investigate matters. Those who have not done their job should resign.

  6. photonz

    I see that just a couple of weeks after the election, the Mayor has already gone AWOL.

    He’s left his role representing the people, and is already working against them, having gone back to his role of madly sweeping infrastructure problems under the carpet, saying it’s too early to know if a problem even exists (real world calling planet Cull, come in planet Cull).

    In a way Dunedin deserves this.

    We have a mayor who overseas pole fiasco, after cycleway fiasco, after property development fiasco, after 152 disappearing cars fiasco, after blocked drains fiasco, after (another) property development fiasco.

    And after watching years of mismanagement and sweeping problems under the carpet instead of fixing them, we vote him in again.

  7. Mike

    OK – putting on my engineer’s hat – there are algorithm’s with those names, the names are descriptions of how they work, not moral judgements of them, they have nothing to do with how Delta et al actually work

    In my neighbourhood there are mostly new poles (but there are still some red tagged ones), on my street almost all of ours were so old they were replaced by Chorus when they went through and put in fibre last year, for quite a while they stood in pairs, an old bad one and a new one, months later Delta came through and moved their wires onto the new ones and took the old ones out – I assume that’s been going on all over town, which means that there has been a lot of pole replacement going on over the past year, but that Chorus has been likely been driving it (I assume Delta have had to pay their share too).

    That there are still so many red tagged poles shows how bad the problem used to be, and how bad it still is. It’s time Delta stopped propping up the stadium and started propping up its wires

    • Elizabeth

      The fact of the use of an algorithm(s) is just that, Mike – you will appreciate the satire attached within CD’s post as a consequence of exchange with his sources. Richard has nicely taken thE fact further in his reply.

      In the same way The Wash today (ODT) mentions pole spotting as the latest craze…. paraphrasing :)

      • Mike

        I understand it’s satire I guess if it were somehow technically accurate it wouldn’t offend my engineering sensibilities quite so much :-) and no one mentioned “simulated annealing”, or “merge sorts”.

        I understand they used an algorithm – we all use them every day …. this seems really more akin to putting your finger on the scales.

        • Elizabeth

          You’re talking to someone whose industry is saturated with use of algorithms and algorithmic thinking
          ;-) *snap

  8. Peter

    I’m sure if there was a massive earthquake….a la Christchurch…. Dave Cull would order a review to see if there was indeed a problem and not just about false accusations and hearsay from negative people.

  9. Anonymous

    I have direct evidence that Chorus have climbed red-tagged poles on more than one occasion to install UFB connections, both for network build (overhead delivery) and customer connections.

    The state of the poles in Dunedin is a major factor in the slower than expected rollout of Gigatown as many connections are delayed as a result. Again I have direct evidence of this.

    I strongly suspect that the entire rollout up North Road from Gardens to Watts Road has had to be redone as the poles are in such a rotten state that undergrounding was necessary whereas overhead delivery was designed. KB Contractors have completed this work within the last month, yet the rollout was signed off overhead as complete last year.

    The Shareholder (Dunedin City Council) should immediately withdraw support for the Board of Aurora and force immediate resignations and reappointments. They should probably also do this for DCHL as the conflicts there can no longer be ignored in this context. The operational priority of pole testing and replacement should be actioned immediately. Council should also immediately resolve to conduct a full investigation of Aurora and Delta back to the Luggate transactions and include the repurposing of the Newton’s Coachways CCO in that investigation. They should also not shy away from litigating that past, should wrongdoing be found.

    • Richard Healey

      I’m very concerned to hear about Chorus/ Downers staff climbing those poles. Can you share the evidence of that? What time frame are we looking at?

      • Anonymous

        One incident in castle st 2014, one on Islington st February 2016.

        Chorus attached overhead delivery tubes to pole on north road at Northumberland st in 2015 while the pole has been red-tagged for 4 years

  10. Elizabeth


    27 Oct 2016 – Problem power poles, comments to ODT Facebook entry received to 4.00pm – by screenshot [click for legible copy]:


    [our shading re Cull’s ‘a wear ness’]

  11. Gurglars

    What a farce Health and Safety is! Lots of bureaucrats running around chasing their tails and pissing off people trying to make an honest living and here is a REAL problem, caused by other overpaid generally useless bureaucrats and they do Zip, Nothing, Nada.

    Why has the company management not been sequestered, a commissioner appointed and demands made to not only Red Tag dodgy poles, but actually replace them!

    Here are the DCC chickens coming home to roost. Don’t attend to your real job and the frivolities will always get you in the end.

    Dream World is a great example of large companies ignoring real health and safety risks. REMEMBER, Directors, recent high court decisions make Crombie et al responsible personally for any health and safety errors of judgement whether known or not!

  12. Elizabeth

    Graphic Example

    Received from Richard Healey
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 at 2:30 p.m.

    These photos [see link below] are not directly related to the degraded state of the Aurora Network, but they were taken on it. The events depicted here occurred on New Year’s eve this year. In this case a flashover occurred on an insulator which was supporting a 33,000 V line. The cause was probably contamination on the insulator and unrelated to its age or condition.

    The point that they illustrate is that, at this voltage, you don’t have to contact a live conductor to die. In fact just standing with your feet apart is enough. Google step voltage, or step potential*, for a more thorough explanation.

    The brief sequence of events is this, an arc formed over the insulator and electricity flowed down the concrete pole and into and across the ground. It then traveled up into the wire of the fence, 470m along the fence and back into the ground at various points. On the way it left a few burn marks as it passed through.

    What stopped it traveling further were two sections of timber in the fence line. Without those a far greater length of fence would have been involved.

    As it was, 12 sheep touching or near to the fence were killed. The fence runs down the drive to the farm gate and the last post affected had the properties letterbox fixed to it. I don’t think I need to explain what would have happened to a human who had been down too check the mail.

    Photos attached by Dropbox link.

    █ Note the scaleable aerial image/map via the dropbox to explain the property context. Richard also provides two panoramas.

    *The link given by whatifdunedin re step voltage and step potential provides easy-to-understand definitions.

    Thumbnails only here:



  13. Elizabeth

    If any member of the public was concerned about the safety of poles in their area or any other network safety concerns they should contact Delta on 0800 433 582 or visit the Aurora website:

    █ Aurora Energy Ltd

    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 at 6:48 pm
    Stuff: ‘She’ll be right’ attitude to rotten poles not good enough – union
    The union for workers at a Dunedin council-owned lines company says the replacement of rotten power poles needs to be sped up. Three investigations have been launched after a Delta manager, Richard Healey, went public with allegations Delta and Aurora are breaching safety standards and failing to clear a backlog of about 3000 failing poles.


    RNZ News Thu, 26 Oct 2016
    The investigations are being carried out by Dunedin City Holdings (DCHL), WorkSafe New Zealand and the Commerce Commission.
    “If the allegations are in any way correct, then obviously there’s a risk to the value of Delta as a company and there’s a risk to the reputation of both Delta and the council. It’s a serious issue.” –Dunedin mayor Dave Cull

    From Checkpoint:
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (duration 3′45″)

  14. Peter

    Dave Cull has the unfortunate tendency, when a major problem comes out of the blue, to immediately minimise the problem and to fail to express any real concern. Once this doesn’t work he then orders some investigation to take the heat out…..for him. In my mind this doesn’t show any real confidence in himself to handle problems adeptly and to give people confidence that he will get to the bottom of the problem.
    Either he has become very weary of the demands of the job, which is understandable after six years in office, or it shows a weakness in his leadership style. Failing that, could one also assume that it is his natural inclination to protect certain people, whom he has stuck himself to, or certain people who have made it their business to stick him close to their bosom?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      People have different responses to danger, some freeze or do something silly, some bring up from every corner of their brains and assemble in an instant everything they every heard about the right way to deal with this kind of emergency.
      Dave Cull’s response seems to be of the headless chook X ostrich variety, a crossbreed unsuited for any practical use.

  15. Elizabeth

    Very evident braking, go-slow, and denial of the extreme extent of the health and safety issues and the immediate remedis required – from Cull de Mayor, Spongebob Crombie, Egg-head Cameron and the Boards of Directors involved. No honesty whatsoever from these brazen political players and spenders of the public purse – the people responsible for this entire fiasco.

    Cull is once again the frivolous little emperor with no clothes.

    Fri, 28 Oct 2016
    ODT: Criticism for Cull on poles approach
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has been slammed over his response to growing accusations about the risk to city residents from dangerous power poles. Mr Cull yesterday defended himself, saying the issue was being investigated urgently and he expected to have preliminary results of a Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) review on Monday. This comes as a freshly leaked document reveals how far council-owned companies Delta and Aurora are behind their health and safety obligations to replace the network’s most damaged poles. Cont/

  16. russandbev

    No doubt at all that Cull and Crombie are in full protection mode – not, be assured, of those at risk from falling poles, but of their own skins. Hard to see how Cameron’s skin can be saved – he will probably be a sacrifice – but we all know that the Board members of Delta/Aurora and the Board of DCHL and ultimately the DCC all have responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY for what Delta/Aurora decided to do with the money they got. Cameron may have spent it on x, y or z, but the Boards set the policy.

    Cull’s unwillingness to accept the blindingly obvious is indicative of his character – put down the revelations of a brave whistle-blower, ignore the public admissions of Cameron, and figure out ways of limiting the damage to him and his Board appointees.

    Anyone else note the eerie parallels with this situation and the tragedy at Dreamworld where the CEO is on some incredible salary while meanwhile there is an apparent underlying history of lack of maintenance?

  17. Rob Hamlin

    Here is the ‘official’ map of Mosgiel’s ‘dangerous’ poles.

    It shows four poles on the route on which I commented in the last day or so.

    There are in fact ten tagged poles immediately visible directly from the two roads that I travelled and quite a few more poles that look like they could urgently do with it. You would expect this to be the case unless the current ‘red tagging frenzy’ has fully passed over Mosgiel.

    I am no expert on red tag weathering, but having now looked at a few of these red tags many of them look far from new. I suppose that they might be recycling them to save the ratepayer money – but somehow I doubt it.

    Still watch out for red tag recycling as a ‘green positive’ of this situation when the Mayor is finally forced into commenting on this.

    • Elizabeth

      Re: Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board

      From: Brian Miller
      Sent: Friday, 28 October 2016 12:42 p.m.
      To: Sarah Nitis
      Cc: ODT; Sue Bidrose; Sandy Graham; Elizabeth Kerr; Maurice Prendergast
      Subject: Dangerous poles Mosgiel Taieri.

      Hi Sarah
      Congratulations on your appointment as chair of the new M/T board. May I suggest that you call an urgent meeting of the board to consider the situation in the Mosgiel Taieri board area, of the dangerous poles issue that have been highlighted both in the news media and online. This would appear to be a major health and safety issue for the area, similar to passed flooding issues in the area where life has been put at risk. This being more of a risk to life because of the unknown factor of the effect of when and where any of these poles may collapse, and of course the danger of lines from fallen poles that could lead to fatal consequences. As the board is the elected representatives of the Mosgiel Taieri area, we should expect the board to act with urgency in representing the community on this dangerous pole issue. You may also like to inquire what action if any that the civil defense has in mind for such a wide spread health and safety issue.
      Brian Miller.

  18. Lyndon Weggery

    The worrying thing is that in today’s ODT, Aurora planned to replace all the poles by 2020 – that’s 4 years from now and not good enough. A significant number within Dunedin City are red tagged at Condition Zero which means replacement (Energy Safety-wise) within three months. The rest need to be replaced by statutory requirement within 12 months. That’s what Mayor Cull should be insisting on or else replace the contractor (Delta) with someone else who can do the job. That’s what DCC did over the mudtanks in South Dunedin when the contractor was shown to have not been doing their job properly and similar action needs to be taken here. SDAG have identified approx 200 poles within Greater South Dunedin needing priority attention and a letter has gone from us to the Mayor today seeking assurance that priority action for South Dunedin will be taken given the potential threat of rising groundwater levels and our area vulnerable to future seismic activity.

    • Elizabeth

      There is no threat of rising ground water for South Dunedin, Lyndon.

      That is a myth Dave Cull has poisonously put about as a result of ideological Climate Change debate which has no quantified scientific data in support.

      Individual SDAG member views may not be the group’s established formal position. A matter of clearly stating hats.

      • Kleinefeldmaus

        Yes that crappy stuff that the Mayor has put about regarding ground water has been at the least frightening for the residents of that area and at worst, having a negative effect on their property values. At least we now have one new councillor (Conrad Stedman) who will understand the importance of the effect of such (seemingly) authoritative official statements. The mayor as a property owner should have known better.

    • Richard Healey

      Sadly, Grady has misled you. If you check page 78 of the Aurora Asset Management Plan (AMP) you will find that Aurora planned to replace less than 359 poles a year for the next ten years. So nine years to replace the existing cohort of low condition poles.

      That, unfortunately, is not the extent of the problem. Discovery of new poor condition poles is running at 800 per year. That is to say, in nine years around 7200 poles are likely to be added to the list and programmed replacement will have removed a little over 3000. So using the replacement figures from the publish statutory document the number of low condition pole will increase by 7200.

      You don’t need to take my word for it. Search Aurora AMP 2016 and look for the entry 5.6 Support Structures (pages 78-80).

      {Links added. -Eds}

    • JimmyJones

      The DCC and ORC spin-doctors have learned that if they repeat their misinformation often enough, that many citizens will eventually believe it. If enough people believe the message about the “rising groundwater level”, South Dunedin will become an economic wasteland. Residents are now faced with the DCC’s economic sabotage as well as the dangerously substandard stormwater system – the new pump screen will not fix the buggered pipes.
      Lyndon needs to check the facts and ignore the spin: the ORC has measured the South Dunedin groundwater levels every 15 minutes at various locations for several years and the graphs are flat – no rising trend. Also, the sea-level rise is very small (1.3mm/yr) with no sign of acceleration. But this is of no consequence anyway, because the South Dunedin groundwater level is above sea level and except for some locations close to the sea/harbour, the ORC has established that there is no connection between sea-level and the South Dunedin groundwater level. This is what their data shows, but their spin-doctors have a different message.
      The failed Aurora poles replacement program and the failed Dunedin stormwater system renewals/upgrade program have the same cause. Both are direct consequences of very bad decisions made by the Mayor, councillors and DCC staff. Many DCC councillors will not have been aware of the financial compromises that they agreed to as part of the annual plan processes. Each time, they probably feel like heroes, because they spent enough to keep the stake-holders happy and achieved Dave Culls political goal of a 3% max rates rize. They need to realize that more wasteful spending means less essential spending – and that means that people get killed and flooded.

  19. Brian Miller

    The discovery of hundreds of poor conditioned poles is a major health and safety issue, with possible fatal consequences to both the people of the area and livestock. What is the role of Civil Defense on this issue ? Do they have a policy on this type of life threatening problem, and are they able to declare an emergency in the areas affected. Some body needs to take control of this mess.

  20. Gurglars

    47 million on cycleways for cyclists that don’t ride on to save lives and precious little on poles that are an obvious real health hazard.

    Why do we keep paying these decision makers.

    Start paying peanuts, the monkeys wouldn’t replace the poles either, but they would still have the $47 million so that Richard Healey and his ilk could replace the poles.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    “Start paying peanuts, the monkeys wouldn’t replace the poles either, but they would still have the [money]” Yes-yes-yes Gurglars. The Astro-freaking-nomical Salaries Commission has been responsible year after year for widening the gap between rich and poor (bad move creating dangerous rip tides throughout society), galloping entitle-itis, and a small group of overpaid underperformers or worse, anti-performers responsible for good people being unable to do good work.

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