Delta/Aurora : Current strategy to “fix on failure” [extreme neglect]

ODT stories provide truly abhorrent insights.

█ Power poles are just the tip of the iceberg as Dunedin’s creaking electricity network shows signs of neglect across the board.

“In 10 years, we’re looking at re-reticulating the entire CBD of Dunedin. What do you think that’s going to cost? Hundreds of millions ain’t gonna touch it.” –Richard Healey

power-pole-silhouette-by-robert-kim-karen-on-deviantart-ghwi7h-clipart### ODT Online Sat, 12 Nov 2016
Insight | Aurora’s woes
Network ‘decayed, neglected’
By Chris Morris
Richard Healey says it is a miracle the lights have stayed on in Dunedin as parts of the city’s ageing electricity network threaten to implode. The former Delta worker, who resigned to blow the whistle last month, has been outspoken about the state of thousands of power poles across Aurora’s network. But the poles were just one symptom of wider neglect that has left Aurora’s network at risk of multiple failures, Mr Healey believed. And nowhere was that threat more critical than within the ageing web of high-voltage 33kV underground electricity cables, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, still powering Dunedin. […] It was a claim reinforced by Aurora, which identified the cables as “perhaps the most significant risk of a catastrophic asset failure” facing the city in its 10-year asset management plan. The risk was also pinpointed by consultant Strata Energy Ltd, in a report on Aurora’s network for the Commerce Commission, in 2013. Despite that, Aurora’s asset management plan said failure of the 33kV cables remained “extremely rare”, and “as a result our current strategy is to fix on failure”.

Mr Healey said the network’s problems were the inevitable consequences of inadequate investment. “It’s not aged — it’s decayed. It’s not deferred maintenance — it’s neglect.

What was known was that other cities had “vigorously” replaced their cables, and Dunedin appeared to be “out of whack with the rest of the world”. He described a network littered with equipment either broken or operating well beyond manufacturers’ specifications. […] Delta chief executive Grady Cameron would not answer questions about the state of the network, the risks it posed to safety, or the likely total cost of renewal, this week. Instead, Aurora board chairman Dr Ian Parton, in an email, would say only the issues were being addressed “at an operational level” and it was not appropriate to discuss them with media.
Read more + Videos

****

### ODT Online Sat, 12 Nov 2016
Every day at Delta a ‘storm’
By Chris Morris
Aurora Energy is still insisting its electricity network is safe, despite logging more than 60 “high or extreme risk” public safety incidents — most involving falling power poles — in a year, it has been confirmed. The revelation came as another former Delta worker came forward to tell the Otago Daily Times it was a struggle on a “daily basis” to keep the lights on in Dunedin. Delta manages Aurora’s network. Geoff Lyell said he was shocked by the state of Aurora’s network when he took a job as system control operator in 2013.
….There were good staff at Delta but many kept their heads down and asset management staff were victims of the company’s “financial constraint”, he said. That constraint was a result of Delta and Aurora being expected to deliver large profits to the Dunedin City Council, which was “mainlining” on profits. “They can’t get off this drug.”
Read more

****

### ODT Online Sat, 12 Nov 2016
Pole hit, power cut to two houses
By Vaughan Elder
Power was cut to two houses in Mornington when an 86-year-old power pole was struck by a truck yesterday afternoon. A spokeswoman said police were called to Argyle St just before 2pm after a truck struck the pole, bringing down a telephone line. […] The Otago Daily Times understands the pole, which was red-tagged indicating it was unsafe to climb, was installed in 1930 and in 2013 was identified as “condition one”, meaning it was not fit for design load.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
11.11.16 Healey responds to statements in today’s ODT —Delta #WorkSafety…
10.11.16 Delta goes for *cheapie Chinese steel poles in replacement
9.11.16 Delta/Aurora warned, renewed calls for Grady Cameron to resign
8.11.16 Delta/Aurora neglect, letters to ODT
6.11.16 Healey responds to DCHL terms of reference for Delta review
4.11.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 6 – Thick as a Brick
2.11.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 5 : Grady Cameron on RNZ : How many Asset…
1.11.16 Delta/Aurora/DCHL corporate whitewash #dangerousnetwork
● 31.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 4 : Delta/Aurora, Drugs and Dividends
29.10.16 Mr Crombie, not quite the spent force
28.10.16 Heads of Delta/ Aurora/ DCHL/ DCC out to lunch
27.10.16 Bev Butler says ‘Come in, Grady’ #LGOIMA #Delta
27.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 3 : Rotten Poles and Greedy Algorithms
25.10.16 Delta #EpicPowerFail 2 : Plaudits to Saunders & Elder : Delta…
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: clipart – power pole silhouette by robert kim karen on deviantart

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23 Comments

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

23 responses to “Delta/Aurora : Current strategy to “fix on failure” [extreme neglect]

  1. Elizabeth

    From Douglas Field
    Sat, 12 Nov 2016 at 8:18 a.m.

    delta-cash-cow-douglas-field-12-11-16-1

    ****

    The following news item is mentioned in other comments and posts at What if? Dunedin. An unsubtle reminder, lest we forget the white-paint blindness of Deloitte in its current review of Delta/Aurora.

    grady-cameron-left-with-award-sponsor-ewan-morris-of-abb-thinkdelta-co-nz[thinkdelta.co.nz] Grady Cameron (left) looking like he should sit on it

    14 Aug 2014
    Chief Executive Grady Cameron wins Young Energy Executive Award

    Aurora Energy and Delta chief executive Grady Cameron has won the 2014 Young Energy Executive of the Year at last night’s Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards in Auckland.
    Mr Cameron, 39, was judged to be the standout person aged under 40 in the New Zealand energy sector based on their achievements in the past year, and cumulative achievements to date. The recognition reflects his contribution to the infrastructure sector as someone who, at a relatively young age, is already directing the path of two significant companies with a prominent role in the country’s energy industry.
    Mr Cameron leads the country’s sixth largest electricity distribution network, Aurora Energy Limited, and infrastructure specialist Delta Utility Services Limited. Most recently, Grady has led Delta through a major phase of change, introducing sophisticated asset management practices, building third party network maintenance business and refocusing Delta on its core energy and environmental services.
    “I am extremely proud to receive this award and view it as recognition of the hard work and passion of our entire organisation. I am privileged to lead a team of people who make our communities better places to live by providing reliable, quality infrastructure,” says Mr Cameron.
    Mr Cameron said he hoped the award would inspire other potential leaders to consider careers in the energy sector. “I have found the industry to be both a challenging and intensely rewarding one. I would certainly encourage others to join the sector, with the opportunity to contribute to the quality of people’s everyday lives and to the success of the wider economy.” Delta Link

  2. Elizabeth

    The following news item is mentioned in other comments and posts at What if? Dunedin. An unsubtle reminder, lest we forget the white-paint blindness of Deloitte in its current review of Delta/Aurora.

    14 Aug 2014
    Chief Executive Grady Cameron wins Young Energy Executive Award

    Aurora Energy and Delta chief executive Grady Cameron has won the 2014 Young Energy Executive of the Year at last night’s Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards in Auckland.
    Mr Cameron, 39, was judged to be the standout person aged under 40 in the New Zealand energy sector based on their achievements in the past year, and cumulative achievements to date. The recognition reflects his contribution to the infrastructure sector as someone who, at a relatively young age, is already directing the path of two significant companies with a prominent role in the country’s energy industry.
    Mr Cameron leads the country’s sixth largest electricity distribution network, Aurora Energy Limited, and infrastructure specialist Delta Utility Services Limited. Most recently, Grady has led Delta through a major phase of change, introducing sophisticated asset management practices, building third party network maintenance business and refocusing Delta on its core energy and environmental services.
    “I am extremely proud to receive this award and view it as recognition of the hard work and passion of our entire organisation. I am privileged to lead a team of people who make our communities better places to live by providing reliable, quality infrastructure,” says Mr Cameron.
    Mr Cameron said he hoped the award would inspire other potential leaders to consider careers in the energy sector. “I have found the industry to be both a challenging and intensely rewarding one. I would certainly encourage others to join the sector, with the opportunity to contribute to the quality of people’s everyday lives and to the success of the wider economy.” Delta Link

    grady-cameron-left-with-award-sponsor-ewan-morris-of-abb-thinkdelta-co-nz[thinkdelta.co.nz] Grady Cameron (left) looking like he should sit on it

  3. Simon

    Another black tie dinner paid for by the Dunedin ratepayers. All they got in return was a bigger noose of debt around their necks.

  4. nick

    Pppfffttttttt!
    Sophisticated asset management practices . . .
    Nothing new. Read any Delta Annual Report and the gloss makes the company appear progressive, focused and dynamic.
    At the time of this award, Delta had just gone through a bad patch of staff lay-offs, losing major regional contracts, and was trying its hardest to lose more millions in Christchurch subdivision work. Successful again on that count.
    Just how many generously paid managers does it take to run an electricity network into the ground?
    Who were the judges at Deloitte handing out this prestigious award?
    Cameron has never ‘led’ Delta. He has run a mixed course of subordinate obedience to the Aurora/Delta directors and the key performance indicators for his role have been closely aligned to Delta’s contributions to the fortunes of that bloody stadium, via network neglect.
    That building and all its associated promoters are going to drag Dunedin and its citizens down badly for decades.

  5. Elizabeth

    Note received today from a third party:
    “Lee asked for a copy of the issues register. Grady’s answer was deceitful. That register exists and lists several thousand problems on the network. Grady failed to acknowledge its existence.”

    LGOIMA Request via Online DCC files

    July 2016
    Delta Risk Information LGOIMA 24 July 2016 (PDF, 77.9 KB)
    Request from Cr Lee Vandervis 24/07/2016

    lgoima-vandervis-24-july-2016-delta-delta-risk-information[screenshot – click to enlarge]

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Note received today from a third party:” – is leakage increasing?
      Fear for safety has been stressing Delta workers (as distinct from wankers) for a long time, we’ve been hearing. Now that the fan is a rich shade of brown thanks to Richard Healey, has there been a general loosening of, ahh, has there been a shower of, I mean what I’m getting at: is there within the disorganisation Delta a movement to add further st/icky details until the fan resembles mahogany that’s been subjected to a shower of soot?

  6. Elizabeth

    From Douglas Field in reaction to ODT story
    Sat, 12 Nov 2016 at 6:42 p.m.

    parton-up-his-own-arse

    [Grady hiding]

  7. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 13 Nov 2016
    Insight
    Ageing poles headache throughout NZ
    By Chris Morris
    Ageing power poles are a multimillion-dollar headache in New Zealand. Inquiries by ODT Insight have found New Zealand’s 29 lines companies are spending millions dealing with tens of thousands of ageing wooden power poles. And the companies’ costs are set to rise as more of the poles — some dating back to the 1950s — come up for replacement. […] In New Zealand, seven lines companies have together breached quality-price regulations, set by the Commerce Commission, 12 times since 2011. Written warnings have been issued to three companies — Aurora, Wellington Electricity and Eastland Network — since 2014. Aurora was warned in 2012, but was already facing a second investigation when the latest power pole concerns prompted fresh investigations by the commission, Energy Safety and Deloitte. Strata Energy Consulting, which investigated the networks for the commission, also criticised Aurora’s inadequate asset management in a 2013 report.
    Read more

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Well, I say it again, this all comes back to Jim Harland and his cavalier attitude to debt and a complete misunderstanding of the rules and rigors of running a city. The Stadium is at the centre of the whole mess. Sure, the Aurora business obviously goes back longer than that but it hasn’t been helped since the Stadium came on the scene. The constant stealing of money from Aurora for the Stadium, plus the management of the Delta group in its sad stories in real estate endeavours, together with the unholy alliance of the rugby fraternity intertwined within the DCHL and DCC makes one wonder whether there is an answer. That there should be a day of reckoning goes without saying. But who instigates it. The Mayor? Not likely as he is as involved as any. Cr Lee Vandervis? Yes, but will he have the support? Do the people need to revolt? Or, does it just all puddle on till some greater body takes control? Interesting.

  9. Gurglars

    Deltexit, Calvin, followed by Camexit, Cullexit, Mclachlangone, Crombexit.

    Of course it’s got to be the people who are not the beneficiaries of the public largesse who must instigate the revolution. It is clear that the Directors of the Dunedin City owned companies, the councillors or Cull de Mayor will not.

  10. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  11. Gurglars

    Keep the pressure up Richard and Geoff. It is only consistent chewing by termites that bring down shonky houses.

  12. Elizabeth

    ODT 28.11.16 (page 6)

    odt-28-11-16-letter-to-editor-goodman-p6-1

    █ 12.11.16 ODT: Network ‘decayed, neglected’

    “One of the city’s oil-insulated 33kV cables — running from the central city to South Dunedin —  had been leaking since 2009, allowing up to 7000 litres of oil to escape over the years, [Richard Healey] said. The ongoing leak was noted in Aurora’s asset management plan, but Delta staff had so far been unable to find the hole. Mr Healey said a gas-insulated 33kV cable at the city’s Smith St substation — near the Town Hall — had also failed. It remained out of action because spare parts had been discarded by Delta and were not manufactured any more, he said. Despite that, Aurora’s asset management plan said failure of the 33kV cables remained “extremely rare”, and “as a result our current strategy is to fix on failure”. Mr Healey said the state of the 33kV cables was not known, and predicting the end of their useful life was “really, really difficult”. What was known was that other cities had “vigorously” replaced their cables, and Dunedin appeared to be “out of whack with the rest of the world”.”

    • Elizabeth

      The letter by Paula Goodman was inadvertently published again today YAY!! on page 8 (ODT), under the subtitle ‘Delta review conflict: perception is reality’ for a letter by Gerry Eckhoff.

  13. nick

    The web gets more intricate.

    Trevor Kempton is both an ORC Councillor, an independent Delta Director, and an Aurora Director.

    Deloitte partner Steve Thompson is a Delta Director.
    Grady Cameron has a place in Deloitte 2104 ‘Hall of Fame Energy Excellence Awards’ for his role as CEO of Delta. Deloitte is conducting the inquiry into the state of the Delta’s management of the Aurora network.

    Graham Crombie as Chairman of DCHL which oversees Aurora/Delta as one of the DCC companies, was appointed an associate member of the Commerce Commission last year. The ComCom sets the regulatory framework under which Aurora must operate.

    Would you like Conflict with that Sir?

    Or when the heat really goes on, can anyone here turn the thermostat dial down a just little bit to make it nice and cosy again?

  14. Greta Good

    Nick…you forgot the Energy Safety Service…investigating how they failed to meet their own responsibilities to the sector. It appears to me that all the participants in this farce are standing in a circle, inspecting either their own rearmost orifice or that of the person standing just in front of them. Be assured though, no arseholes will be found.

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    Just like Barbie and Ken: “Be assured though, no arseholes will be found.” Nothing to disturb the vulnerable. No rude bits.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    “While the type of oil is non hazardous and biodegradable.” HUH!!!??? The only type of oil generally used in these fittings back as long ago as when this particular cable was put in place, was usually pretty disgusting as far as non hazardous or biodegradable. I could be wrong but would doubt Mr Davis’ comments.

  17. Rob Hamlin

    Here’s the informed word on how nice this oil is.

    Xu, J., Pancras, T. & Grotenhuis, T. (2011) “Chemical oxidation of cable insulating oil contaminated soil”, Chemosphere, 84(2) pp. 272-277

    “1. Introduction

    In many European countries, high voltage cables are submerged underground in the vadose zone to provide electricity in the residential and urban zones of cities. For example, in the Netherlands 2500 km of underground power transmission lines are present. In general, cable insulating oil fills the metallic sheath surrounding the copper conductor in order to reduce heating or shrinkage of the cable and to maintain identical cable volumes in summer and wintertime. The insulating oil in the cables is kept continuously at an overpressure of 50–300 kPa. Following accidental damage to the cables, a joint failure of the cable system, or cable aging, cable oil regularly leaks into the surrounding soil. Only when leakage exceeds 40 L month−1 km−1, a power transmission line is taken out of operation and repaired.”

    [Note: Reported Delta leakage is 7,000 L over 7 years or c. 90 L month over the length of the line which I do not know – they may be within the accepted Euro-tolerance quoted here if its over 2km. However ….It sounds from this leakage rate /km/month as if the lines leak all over when they are knackered – which makes ‘finding’ this particular ‘one’ leak either irrelevant or impossible, as its probably lots of little ones. It therefore looks like it needs replaced – as it would appear to be irreparable. Mr Healey should know.]

    “In the last 50 years several types of mineral and synthetic oils were in use for insulating underground power lines. Synthetic insulating oil may consist of up to 18 major components, and mainly contains dodecylbenzene or linear alkyl benzene, ranging from dodecyl- to tridecylbenzenes (Johnson et al., 2001). As these compounds pose a significant threat to public health and the environment, remediation of cable oil leakages is highly relevant. Currently, contaminated soils are excavated. However, due to the inaccessibility of underground cable sites, their proximity to complex subsurface infrastructure, and the necessity of uninterrupted power transmission, a flexible and rapid technology to replace excavation is desired.

    Two technologies that overcome the disadvantages of excavation and which seem to be valid for cable oil remediation are in situ bioremediation and in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO).

    Although cable oil is in principle biodegradable (Johnson et al., 2001), it is hindered by the lack of degradation of the pure product at the hotspots along the power lines. In situ bioremediation could be impeded by the toxicity of pure products to microorganisms, absence of specific microorganisms, depletion of nutrients, lack of oxygen (especially at depth), and poor bioavailability of contaminants (Cuypers, 2001, Namkoong et al., 2002 and Kao et al., 2003).”

    • Calvin Oaten

      So, in a word it’s bull…t. Thank you for the information Rob, I knew it was, certainly 40 odd years ago pretty disgusting stuff.

      As an aside, I see Hilary Calvert’s opinion piece in today’s ODT hits the nail on the head. She basically says that the Delta/Aurora setup is a loose cannon and is mismanaged and out of control. The directors are no better and of course the owners, US, are being sucked dry with no cover as the DCC is run as a separate entity and holds no sway. […] The Mayor will receive the Deloitte report asked for, and with the chapters set by the chairman of both Delta/Aurora and DCHL full of consultancy-like crap, take it as gospel and that, good folks, is that. The city is stuffed as far as I can see.

      {Moderated. Sensitive times. -Eds}

  18. Gurglars

    Come on Rob, the guy only gets $540,000 per annum, over $10,000 per week and $1500 per day, plus bonuses for young executive of the year, plus holidays, car and free tickets to the rugby with Krug champagne.

    You are not telling me that you expect him to understand the downside of not fixing a small oil leak of 7000 litres of oil (800 gallons – actually quite a large amount).

    Look, these guys are given the jobs because they talk the talk- it’s nothing to do with managing a power network – get real please.

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