Delta : Something to ponder……


Sun, 20 Nov 2016 at 10:44 p.m.

There are questions for the Council to ask Dunedin City Holdings (DCHL).

█ However, the one chosen, namely does DCHL have confidence in Delta, is not one of them.

Council should ask DCHL to explain why Council should have confidence in the board of DCHL, considering:

1) Both Delta and DCHL are expected to report financial budgets competently: recent talk of a need for increased investment required of $39 million suggests this has not happened.

2) Both Delta and DCHL are required to report to the shareholder within 5 days if there are any major issues that should be known, especially media related issues. This has not happened.

3) Delta is apparently intending to borrow $30 million dollars to deal with a public relations issue (the poles are apparently safe). There was no suggestion in any budgets that $30 million would be required for a public relations exercise, despite the CEO of Delta apparently having known for some years that the situation which is now in the spotlight would need to be addressed.

4) Neither of these companies accept that their plans included ignoring safety issues that others have noticed. It appears that Delta still does not accept that there are any safety issues that should have been addressed.

It is for DCHL to explain to Council why these financial and safety issues have arisen either without the knowledge of DCHL or with their knowledge which was not passed on.

The starting point must be to sack DCHL and appoint a replacement board unless there are prompt answers to the above which are acceptable both to Council and at this point to the public of Dunedin (and also to other places where Aurora provides services, come to that).

PS. Among the Not acceptable answers:
‘It is important that Council understands that dividends paid from profits are likely to be compromised as a result of the increased replacement programme undertaken by Aurora through Delta.’


Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: – Fall from a height: a case study [poor Grady], tweaked by whatifdunedin


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

17 responses to “Delta : Something to ponder……

  1. nick

    Well stated.
    Again, just what have we been paying over 100 people handsomely to do?
    (The directors of Aurora / Delta and that huge management team.)

    Never mind that their accountants were expected to produce multimillion-dollar dividends to DCC and subvention payments to the Stadium.

    What their first responsibility is – running a lines network reliably and safely. And this hasn’t been happening for years.

    Or maybe I’m wrong. Let’s start with a look at the CEO’s Job Description, and the Key Performance Indicators that have driven his regular and extraordinary salary increases since he began his role.

  2. nick

    From today’s ODT.

    “Delta spokesman Gary Johnson noted the improvement between 2014 and 2016 and the measures Delta had taken to improve health and safety.

    “Areas that have improved include managers’ recognition and reward of good safety performance and staff confidence to challenge processes about safety,” Mr Johnson said.”

    Yes, good to see those managers figuring in the safety performance stats Mr Johnson. What about the men on the ground on a stormy night when another rotten pole has blown over needing fixed, and those same managers are safely tucked up in bed?

    And what about Richard Healey having to resign to bring the appallingly bad state of the network to the attention of those same managers? Is that what you mean by “staff confidence to challenge processes about safety.”?
    Mr Johnson is perfecting the art of spin. Pay increase for that man too.

    {Link added. -Eds}

  3. Elizabeth

    Mon, 21 Nov 2016
    ODT: Leaked surveys show Delta workers’ concern
    A pair of leaked staff surveys show significant numbers of Delta workers have been concerned about the company’s attitude towards health and safety. The full 2014 staff survey results and a summary of the 2016 results show overall staff satisfaction is lagging behind New Zealand averages. Meanwhile, two current Delta workers have come forward to back whistleblower Richard Healey’s claims the electricity network is unsafe and say he has the support of the majority of workers. Both staff members believed Aurora, which contracts management of the network out to Delta, had let the network deteriorate in order to pay larger dividends to the Dunedin City Council. Cont/

  4. Simon

    Point 5 should read: Why has one person been promoted as the CEO of both Delta and Aurora ? One company (Aurora) supplies a service to the public. The other (Delta) supplies a maintenance service to the other (Aurora). How can the CEO of Delta negotiate a service contract, or a tender agreement with the CEO of Aurora which is obligated to achieve the best deal for Aurora. When the CEO of both companies is the same person ?
    Is there any other situation in NZ were one person is a CEO of two companies that deal with each other ?
    It would be interesting to listen in on the telephone conversation between the CEO of Aurora and Delta when things go wrong, to see who takes the responsibility. Sounds like a replay of Faulty Towers. Or should that be Faulty Poles ?

    • Interested bystander

      Powernet operates a similar sort of approach with it being almost the equivalent of Delta and have the same CEO for all the lines companies and generations’ jv’s, however they have slightly separate boards for Powernet and the individual lines companies, something DCHL could require quite easily, although the 50% pay cut for the current directors is probably all that stands in the way.

  5. Rob Hamlin

    A very serious issue underlies all of this and that is that despite the assurances that ‘safety is our first concern’, one cannot help but think that certain elements within the the white collar community have reached a reasonable conclusion that they can maim and kill on the way to making a personal profit with impunity – That there is no sanction that the authorities in this country that supposedly act on our behalf can – or will – apply to them.

    We are assured that the Delta network is safe. Most observations, evidence and comment from here and from further North indicates that the network is not safe, but what will happen if (when) somebody who does not work for the network is killed? Let’s say for instance that one of the numerous red tagged poles around Opoho Road falls over, or one of the presumably equivalently degraded lines that they carry snaps in the manner seen recently in the area. (Yesterday a blunt probe was run into one of these very poles at ground level right to its center with no appreciable resistance.)

    This time around however, let us suppose that, rather than falling to the ground and scorching the grass, a high tension line falls across a low tension line and puts 11,000 volts or whatever directly into the nearby school swimming pool via the 240/430 volt water pumps and filters drawing off the local low voltage electricity supply lines.

    Oh dear! – Lots of thoroughly avoidable little floating corpses – But would anybody go to jail for not avoiding them? I personally think that it is unlikely, and if they did, then it is likely to be someone way down the food chain, probably some employee/contractor, who was forced to compromise in some way nearby in the network and didn’t take the precaution of getting it in writing – and who is thus conveniently linkable to the disaster. Unlike recent demonstrations by structural engineers, prior resignation from their professional society or the job is unlikely to protect such blue collar individuals if they have no reliably documented cut out (absolutely no pun intended). The full weight and majesty of the law is likely to be applied to them.

    The gravy train might stop temporarily for some of those white collar bods higher up too, but I suspect not for many, and not for long in any case. Claims of ignorance, lack of evidence of actual/specific intent or evidence to support claims of ‘professional’ advice ‘taken in good faith’ are likely to be an effective defence for such individuals within our justice system as it is structured and administered at present – even if matters progressed that far, which I doubt.

    Thus if you are cold-bloodedly inclined to operate in your own self interest, you might look analytically at recent relevant New Zealand case history to assess the personal risks and returns of letting this situation continue, or even actively working towards maintaining the status quo. It is possible to argue that, at present, one would see only personal upsides and no downsides associated with doing so.

    Impossible? Well let’s just look at Pike River. This mine is now being sealed with its numerous victims still entombed therein. It looks like this is being done in a manner that makes it perhaps one of the few jobs to be done properly in the entire history of that miserable enterprise. Once this is done good and properly, and ten plus metres of concrete looks pretty proper to me, it will be handed over to DOC to add to the Papanui National Park.

    One might assume that, for the sake of ‘public safety’, DOC will be instructed to keep an eye on said seal to make sure that no individual or group is so inexplicably misguided as to have a private go at getting back into the mine. DOC’s position and responsibilities for National Park land can likewise be relied upon as a basis to put paid to any equivalent commercial proposals to reopen the mine, especially on an open-cast basis. So: ‘What went on in the hole, now stays in the hole’ – so to speak.

    The immediately previous owners of this mine were Solid Energy. We know that Solid Energy went under as a consequence of a coal price downturn – plus a series of ‘unfortunate’ large capital investments, about which not nearly enough answers have been forthcoming from this government as to their exact nature, justification and motivations.

    Perhaps the Solid Energy investment related question most pressingly in need of an answer is ‘Why did Solid Energy see fit to invest several million dollars in a bankrupt hole full of corpses, which was apparently at the time considered to be too dangerous for a dedicated mine rescue to even enter, and that their own receivers, not long afterwards, seem to have judged is not even worth trying to sell as a commercial asset on the open market?

    I have my own ideas as to why Solid Energy, or those who gave Solid Energy their orders, thought that this particular hole full of corpses was a truly worthwhile investment – Do you? Has anybody yet personally directly answered custodially for those 29 men?…. No. Will they ever?…. Without further evidence (from the now permanently sealed hole?), that now seems very, very unlikely.

    Have these miners and their families therefore become another purely fiscally quantifiable and analysable, cost of doing business – a spreadsheet cell address?…. So it might be argued. Can this outcome be applied by those who are interested as a guide to management practice in arguably similar business situations as a relevant case study?…. Go figure.

    We won’t even talk about the government’s recent (lack of) response to Chinese shortbread reinforcing steel in road bridges and other major critical structures. Nor the plight of the families of the victims of the CTV building six years on. Nor the official squirming that is already underway with regard to this week’s entirely fortuitously largely non-lethal events in Wellington (pancaking new buildings – a steel issue?) and Kaikoura (unannounced 3m tsunamis). Nor the fact that we live in a society that sees fit to staff dozens of fast food restaurants around the country 24/7 to serve burgers, but not a single earthquake response centre to save lives.

    When you think it through from a certain personal perspective, it might be argued that the observed and developing ‘official’ position and Top Nobs’ reactions to several current situations are perfectly logical. However, it’s not a personal perspective that I have much sympathy for.

    Prime TV hosts a 2-hour feature documentary about the Pike River disaster, starting 20:30 this evening (Monday). Also, ODT editorial 18.11.16 -Eds

  6. Elizabeth

    via Channel 39 News

    Tomorrow’s ODT:
    “Delta is in the news again – $16,000 on consultants to help with their response once all the accusations came out.”

    • Kleinefeldmaus

      Can’t they make it up well enough already – Tell them to call me – I can do it for them wholesale – with pictures!.

  7. Anonymous

    More of other peoples’ money wasted on non-essential services to prop up the troughers, instead of replacing three poles which could harm or kill people. Their sense of entitlement is staggering.

    • Elizabeth

      Some poles and the gear they support will each cost $80,000, $120,000…. in replacement.
      About that pole hitched to the mobile substation parked in Willis St, harbourside….

  8. Elizabeth

    From NZ Herald via ODT today (page 6):

    New Zealand Association of Scientists president Craig Stevens said “the Government should avoid actions that that could lead to the repression of scientific advice to the public“. [my highlighting]

    While this was in response to Minister Crudbucket Brownlee’s vilification of GeoNet scientist and director Ken Gledhill after he blogged about the need for around-the-clock tsunami monitoring system for New Zealand…. it is shades of all the backs turned and eyes wide shut at Dunedin, ie DCC (from Mayor Cull down)/DCHL/Aurora/Delta, pretending there is No Public Safety Issue with the degraded Aurora /Delta electricity network. It’s the same rat-in-a-maze idiocy that will save No-one from serious injury or a torturous end if in proximity to network failure.

    Worth reading the whole news item as it also signals ‘typical’ planned overspend by Govt (dollars to mates) when a cheaper text alert system is available ex Dunedin software developers — Which (!) Civil Defence and Ministers were briefed about this as far back as 2003….. bastards!

  9. Tussock

    The only reliable alert system so far is the siren system, if it is implemented properly. If the council and community boards should get off their arse and into gear, and communicate with the people and explain what to expect.
    The Dunedin software only communicates with those who have the equipment to receive the info. Not everybody has that.

  10. Gurglars

    A siren is a waste of time, the dog is black becoming the white cat means all disjointed communication is a stuffup.

    The only thing that will save citizens from a tidal wave moving at 1000 km/h is a text warning system to every mobile phone user. God help you if your battery is flat.

    But a tsunami runs from Cook Straight to the Otago Peninsula and St Clair within an hour of the first big shake. Sirens on the back of trucks form one solution – death trap for the volunteer.

  11. Tussock

    “The only thing that will save citizens from a tidal wave moving at 1000km/h is a text warning system to every mobile phone user.”
    How many citizens in South Dunedin have a mobile phone ?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Probably most of them. It’s landlines that people have given up because of cost. If you’re not locked into a Plan you can top up your mobile with ten dollars – sometimes you don’t have $10 so you can’t text anyone till benefit day or till you get paid, but AFAIK you can still receive texts or calls.
      We’ve seen the result of people with music permanently plugged into their ears, being knocked down on the road because they are oblivious to all other sounds. And what about the people driving around in vehicles with sound systems that rattle windows as they pass?
      Deaf people aren’t going to be helped by sirens either. They can still read a text, and they’ll have their phone set to vibrate – not relying on sound to tell them a message has arrived.

  12. Elizabeth

    From Richard’s Facebook:

  13. Elizabeth

    Received from Douglas Field
    Wed, 23 Nov 2016 at 5:49 p.m.

    Drawn heavily on John Barron’s CJ and Elizabeth. Couldn’t resist using CJ’s catchphrase. ‘Any resemblance to people you recognise is coincidental.’ LOL

    Douglas Field Published on Nov 22, 2016
    Crombie is a Bunny
    Here is a peep behind the curtain in Aurora’s office. Who would have known that Graham was a Bunny.
    Apologies to the late John Barron and Pauline Yates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s