Delta poles : CODC beats DCC to the safety gun, SO not surprising

Tomorrow’s ODT….

At Channel 39 News this evening editor Barry Stewart says:

“Central Otago District Council has turned up the heat on Delta over unsafe poles. So they’re calling for a report on all their endangered poles, and they want to get that sorted.”

Dave Cull, helmet []Well. It’s not like DCC is nearly so proactive. Mayor Cull’s dwindling idea of Leadership does not accord with Social Responsibility. What. No, at Dunedin there is only THE PERCEPTION of a problem, worth $30M.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


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

31 responses to “Delta poles : CODC beats DCC to the safety gun, SO not surprising

  1. Raymond

    Poles that are the most likely to fall over in the near future should not just be identified but wired onto concrete blocks to stabilise them so that no one gets hurt before they are replaced.

  2. Richard Healey

    It is every council’s legal obligation to ensure the safety of the public when they are in a council controlled space. For Mayor Dave Cull that represents a special difficulty. I expressed it like this to Mayor Cull in an email:

    “The condition of the Aurora asset is a serious, extensive and complex problem. I understand very well the position you are in as both a representative of the asset owner and as a community leader. It is in your role as a community leader that I appeal to you. I urge you to place the safety of this community first, above all other issues.

    Please feel free to contact me at any time. Clearly the information you receive from me via the media is filtered and recast before going to air. The information you see is also only a small fraction of the information that I have available to me. I am happy to sit with you, on or off the record, and provide any help I can to correct this situation.”

    Mayor Cull has expressed the view that he can’t talk to me until after the Deloitte report comes in. Since that is his view, I will do him the courtesy of assuming that he has not talked to any other Delta employee in the meantime. It would be disappointing in the extreme to find that was not the case. None of that however excuses him from his responsibility to the people of Dunedin. Not only does he have the ability to question Aurora/Delta directly as the Mayor – he has an absolute duty to do so.

    Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day. I have heard that one of the few people within Delta who have been brave enough to front up openly on this issue has been penalised for speaking out in the interests of the safety of the public in Dunedin and Central Otago. I suggest that, if the information is correct, Delta very quickly backtracks on its actions.

    If it turns out that the justification which Delta has put forward for their retaliation is as it has been suggested, then I will be publishing the details immediately. Should that happen, I think that there will be many red faces among my former employers. More than one senior Delta manager is likely to be subjected to a high level of ridicule which, in my opinion, will be richly deserved.

    I have struggled hard to keep this discussion firmly where it belongs, as a question of public safety. I hope that it will stay that way.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Mayor Cull has expressed the view that he can’t talk to me until after the Deloitte report comes in.” He’s not big on fact-finding, preferring to wing it eg “perception” of danger from lines falling wherever gravity may take them. Not unlike the fact-free blurt about sea level rise when South Dunedin flooded.
      There is a very sound reason for remaining in ignorance of facts. One can come out with whatever mix of bullshit and hot air, spun to the consistency of Mr Whippy’s fine product, and proceed like one cares while jangling a golden chain and whistling Green-sleeves.

    • nick

      Delta penalising its workers who speak out about safety?
      Sorry Richard. Can’t be.

      ODT on Monday 21st.

      “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.”

      My cynicism aside, how much longer do you play this charade Mr Johnson?

      How much longer do we wait and excuse Delta with all its flashy management roles for incubating a growing state of chaos in their network?

      Who is going to initiate the necessary clean-out at Delta to start actioning the overdue priorities of network reliability and safety?

      It is unlikely to be found in a Deloitte’s report, penned by staffers at a Delta director’s office.

      Continuing on with those who have put the network in this perilous state already is not the answer, especially when they have consistently stated they are unable to identify safety issues.

      {Link: -Eds}

      • Observer

        re nick’s comment: Local governments and their companies (such as Delta) always do the engaging of their selected favourites to review their erroneous actions or inactions. That way they remain in control of the review conclusion.

    • Greta Good

      Delta’s fragile little narcissists….can be such nasty pieces of work….a psychologist could have a field day with these damaged people, over-occupied as they are with PERCEPTION and VANITY to the detriment of all around them.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Isn’t it Dave Cull who’s the “Perception Queen”?
        Perhaps I’m having vocab issues, could be Deception, do you think?

        • Greta Good

          Perception deception….the very worst kind.

        • Calvin Oaten

          Careful Hype, you don’t want to be implying Dave might be a funny man do you. Although looking at the photo posted with the glasses and ‘silly’ hat you would have to wonder wouldn’t you.

  3. Observer

    Raymond, if Delta wired the unsafe poles to concrete blocks to stabilise them, to be consistent they’d have to say they only did it protect the public from their PERCEPTION, not from dangers. I guess that spin would be bought if the $30M to fix public PERCEPTION is.

  4. Elizabeth

    A matter not of public safety, THINK “public confidence” [Grady’s disreputable PR machine].

    Fri, 25 Nov 2016
    ODT: CODC tackles Aurora over poles
    ….In a response to the council’s “urgent request” for information, Aurora Energy chief executive Grady Cameron gave assurances it would prioritise the replacement of compromised poles near schools and in high-density areas. Mr Cameron also revealed that, of the 2910 compromised poles it had identified, the majority (1930) were in Queenstown and Central Otago, not Dunedin. […] The accelerated programme, which is to start in March, would increase the number of crews working in Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes from three to five. Cont/

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    * Perception of extravagance could lead to more criticism of our superb leadership
    * In vino veritas
    * Loose lips sink ships

  6. Elizabeth

    More of that self-serving Grady PR. What about Delta’s use of the Stadium between now and forever more –cancelled, refunded ?! No longer ‘man of the match’…. RESIGN NOW Grady Cameron. The best Xmas present to Delta and the Community !!

    Fri, 25 Nov 2016
    ODT: Cameron cancels Delta’s end-of-year functions
    Santa is not coming to Delta this year after chief executive Grady Cameron cancelled end-of-year functions, citing “challenging” times for the organisation. In an email sent to staff and leaked to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Cameron said it cancelled the functions because of the scrutiny Delta and sister company Aurora were under over allegations its electricity network is unsafe. Cont/

  7. Elizabeth

    Must read. At Richard Healey’s Facebook today:

  8. Calvin Oaten

    I see that Dave Cull is off to China. Maybe to get some fresh air.

  9. Anonymous

    That announcement from Delta about cancelling Christmas was just black-ops PR. I’m guessing a certain PR consultant is trying to look busy blowing a trumpet. That message was about distraction, trying to shift focus from the management and infrastructure failings, and try to demonise the people who have forced this into the public. This is the Grady Bunch trying to insinuate good people like Richard are responsible for taking away Christmas. And you know what? It would probably work for some corporate and government situations, but these guys are too self-important to understand that power faults injure or kill, and no amount of consultants, upper managers, executives, directors, “doctors”, accountants, auditors and the like can distract from that for long.

    • Observer

      haha – except this is NOT about cancelling Christmas at all. ODT reported:-

      “Despite multiple sources calling the event a Christmas party, Mr Cameron told the ODT in an emailed statement it did not have a Christmas function “as such” but instead had staff recognition awards functions. Staff would still be recognised but at smaller events.”

      More masterful management spin. It not only defunct’s the perception they have “Christmas functions” but gives a perception that management deserve awards.

      This is almost as good as the spin that successfully fooled High Court Associate Judge Osborne and the DCC that Gold Band Finance Ltd was the first mortgagee controlling the mortgagee sale of the Yaldhurst subdivision in Christchurch when it was Delta that owned 67.5% of the mortgage and fully controlled the sale so as to cheat the existing residents of their prior known interests in it.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    It sure takes the heat out of the Yaldhurst deal doesn’t it. It of course is still purring along. Debt like what Delta/Aurora currently acknowledge is nothing to what it’ll be come next year. Maybe Dave won’t come back.

  11. Elizabeth

    Douglas Field Published on Nov 24, 2016
    The Pole Vaulter
    The mayor of Dunedin is ultimately responsible for the performance of the companies that the city owns. But with the serial failures of two of them he has consistently hidden away from facing up to this level of responsibility. The latest and most obvious is his refusal to face the man who has so clearly exposed the shambles that this whole affair is. As the saying goes- the rot starts from the top.
    This animation lampoons by illustration what Hype O’Thermia says at ‘What If’.

  12. Elizabeth

    Tomorrow’s ODT….

    At Channel 39 News this evening editor Barry Stewart says:

    “More on Delta, a 11,000V line has fallen off a red-tagged Delta pole at the entrance to a public park at Queenstown, causing a little fire along the way.”

    Good grief, must be the season for it.

    Richard Healey 5 hrs ago at his Facebook page:
    Anyone got eyes on the line down / fire at 265 peninsula road, Kelvin Heights ? You at that one Dugi Anderson? [see replies]

  13. Elizabeth

    Google Earth / Street View – 265 Peninsula Rd, Kelvin Heights
    2 poles: one (red tagged) beside trail sign near 269, one at 265 (base of pole obscured by vegetation)

    [click to enlarge]

  14. Elizabeth

    Richard keeps the pressure up (view full text, click on the time under his name):

    • nick

      Thanks Richard . . . again.
      Living on the same line as the downed rotten pole in your pic makes it hard to try and run our business. That incident took our power out for 9 hours.
      We now need two generators and have reconfigured our electrical mains switching to connect the alternative power up to our business during these outages. Not a cheap exercise.
      And this is in the same time that our lines charges have increased under Aurora/Delta by 1000%. Basically, we are paying a hell of a lot more for a worsening reliability in supply, and it’s costing us even more to provide and run our own back-up.
      5 more of these leaning rotten poles run through our property, with a couple of recent Delta visits to nail on some red tags.
      We have huge respect for the lines guys who have to deal with all this rotten stuff, usually on a stormy night when Mr Cameron is safely tucked up in his bed, dreaming of how safe the network has become under his stewardship of ”advanced asset management plans”.
      Little wonder they don’t want to go to his Xmas party. If it’s a stormy night, they won’t be able to anyway – they’ll be all out on call-out duty again.

  15. Elizabeth

    Substation fault caused power to drop out at Delta’s head office in Dunedin yesterday and dropped the voltage across other parts of the network.

    Sat, 26 Nov 2016
    ODT: 11,000-volt line falls, starts fire
    Strong winds in Central Otago yesterday tested the region’s under-fire electricity network and caused fallen trees and other damage. One power pole toppled near a public walkway in Queenstown and whistle-blower Richard Healey said there were eight faults across the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes network as of late yesterday afternoon. Mr Healey said the faults across the network were more evidence of Aurora’s poorly maintained network. Cont/


    Fri, 25 Nov 2016
    ODT: High winds play havoc with power supply
    Power has been restored to Kelvin Heights after high winds brought down a power line, cutting power to about 1000 customers. Delta line crews have been working to restore power at several sites as high winds batter Central Otago. Cont/

    (via ODT)
    As severe winds continue, people are urged to be prepared for the possibility of electricity-related hazards and power outages. In particular:
    ● Always keep well clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment and treat them as live at all times
    ● Watch out for falling tree branches as these can cause damage to power lines
    ● Switch appliances off at the wall to avoid possible damage to electrical appliances when power is restored
    ● Be prepared for power outages. Make sure you have adequate food supplies, warm clothing and bedding, torch and spare batteries, battery radio and an alternative source of heating and cooking.
    ● People using medical equipment that relies on electricity should ensure they are prepared for power disruptions and if there is an immediate health threat, contact their health provider or call 111.

    To report downed power lines, contact Delta on 0800 433-582. 
    To report a loss of power, please contact your electricity retailer.

  16. Gurglars

    Above is a potentially sensible solution. Cull could swap a DCC car park to a Chinese steel manufacturer for 10,000 steel poles. The Chinese have millions of tonnes of excess steel. The steel manufacturer also gets the steel contract for the hotel.

    Every one is a winner – Eh!

    {Moderated. – Eds}

  17. Calvin Oaten

    The picture of the rotten base of the fallen pole is definitive. Still, I see that the Stadium is putting down umpteen metres of concrete to create a speedway type track. One can only wonder that the Delta/Aurora funding by way of subvention payments are more important than safe electricity supplies. But I suppose they are marching to the beat of their masters the DCC, who demand these payments. Mayor Dave Cull is in a strange space over this and one wonders if he will front it. I guess not, he will kick the can further down the road. Malcolm Farry will be getting stones on his roof as well if he isn’t careful. Watch the Stadium go down the gurglar when these payments stop, which they surely must, now that the game is out in the public sphere.

  18. Elizabeth

    Major Conflict of Interest

    Linda Robertson, of Queenstown, is the independent chairwoman of the council’s audit and risk committee. When members declared their interest in various organisations at the start of the meeting, she noted she was a director of Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL), which owns Aurora and Delta. She chaired the meeting through the agenda items, including the power pole report.

    Wed, 30 Nov 2016
    ODT: Pole request not ‘overly reactionary’
    Seeking more information about the risk posed by dangerous power poles on Central Otago District Council-managed land is not being ”overly reactionary”, the council’s chief executive says. The council has asked Aurora Energy to provide more details on the location of potentially dangerous poles in the Central Otago network, how the poles are classified and any mitigation measures required in the interim. Cont/

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    “The live 11,000-volt line fell on an access track to the Kelvin Peninsula Trail about 3pm on Friday, setting fire to vegetation and cutting power to about 1000 customers.”
    During dry seasons … summer, autumn … it takes nothing more than a carelessly thrown cigarette butt to start a fire that spreads fast in ever direction, and every spark can start another.

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