Otago’s dangerous electricity network —Aurora’s INCONSPICUOUS and INEFFECTIVE public safety messaging


[smartphone screenshot 2017-01-08]

The advertisement (safety message!) appears at ODT Online.
Blink and you miss it!

This is what Aurora Energy puts out for You to access Public Safety information. A yellow box with some branding, lost amongst news stories within a plethora of webpages.

Did anybody read ODT Online this summer ?
Did anyone see the ad ?
Did anyone notice the weblink ?
Did anybody click on the link ?
Did anyone do up their seat belt or wear a life jacket ?
How do you stay SAFE around a dangerous power network ?
What do you look out for ?
What do you avoid ?
In an emergency, what do you do ?
What sort of emergency ?
Clear guidelines ?

Or, read as ‘So what’ from the DCC-owned company.


How extensive is Aurora’s public safety messaging across all available media these holidays —and typically, across a year ?

Is Aurora’s public safety messaging evolving to provide clear informational content to keep the public SAFE around the DANGEROUS and DEGRADED electricity network ?


The adverteaser, and the related web information (reproduced below) is at the very low end of public safety information required to prevent personal injury or death. There is little informational value beyond the obvious.

Real life scenarios you should guard against, what are they ?

Other lines companies create graphics, audio and short videos that clearly explain what to do and what NOT to do around electrical facilities and in emergency situations involving live electricity.

Not so Aurora.

This YELLOW-BLOCK commercial branding exercise is cheap, casualised, determinedly ineffective and fully irresponsible. Further, it merely links to what has been up at the Aurora website for some time, which is basic and untelling.

Here’s the Aurora Energy link and their bland factless webpage content:


Aurora Energy puts your safety first. We want all our customers, employees, contractors and the wider community to be safe around electricity. Always keep a safe distance from electrical equipment and take extra care when working around electricity.

You can take some simple steps to make sure that you, and others around you, know how to keep yourself safe when around electricity.
● Treat all electricity as live and never touch electrical equipment
● Report electricity faults to your electricity retailer via their faults number
● Phone 111 immediately if there is an injury or risk of a fire
● Follow safe work practice near electrical equipment
● If you see a tree that is growing near or into a power line, contact Delta to arrange pruning services
● Inform others around you of the dangers of electricity
● Be prepared in the event of a natural disaster or extended power outage.
Read our free guide to working safely around Aurora Energy’s electricity network (PDF) before working near our electricity network. We’re here to help and can provide you information and services to help you stay safe.
Our Public Safety Management System controls hazards that present significant risk of serious harm or major property damage. The System complies with the requirement of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010. To report a potential hazard, please complete the Report a Hazard form or contact Delta.


If Aurora has conducted a full PUBLIC SAFETY CAMPAIGN IN OTAGO
across all available media – including dailies, community newspapers, schools, public libraries, council service centres, magazines, online noticeboards, radio, television, instant text messaging, flyers, billboard posters etc
—we have missed it.

It’s not ‘just’ dangerous poles and lines – it’s the condition of the other dangerous and degraded network assets (including conductors, transformers, cast iron potheads, cables, oil-filled switchgear, airbrakes etc) that the public needs to be concerned about.

Aurora Energy is NOT telling you about these : the condition of other network assets after 20-30 years of Dunedin City Council-owned companies’ inept management and criminal neglect of Otago’s power supply.

What would make the best Public Safety Campaign ?


The Aurora report by Deloitte made public on 12 December 2016 says:

Refer page 8 (1.5.9 Summary of Recommendations | Health & Safety), and page 31 (4.6. Health & Safety recommendations) – bolding by whatifdunedin:

The Board and management of Aurora need to adopt a more transparent approach with staff and the public. There needs to be acknowledgement of the state of the network along with detailed plans on how these issues are going to be rectified.


ODT 13.12.16
– “The Deloitte report did not include a detailed investigation of health and safety issues, but said risk had been increased by a lack of investment. “It is inevitable that this increases the level of risk inherent in the network that could have implications for staff and/or members of the public,” it said.”
– “Mr Cull also refrained from saying the network was unsafe, instead saying: “I don’t think it is as safe as it should be.”
– “[Richard] Healey said he was satisfied for the most part with the report, but not with the response from Mr Cull, DCHL chairman Graham Crombie and Mr [Steve]Thompson, who he said were all still trying to minimise the extent of the problem.”

ODT 21.12.16
– Grady Cameron: ““The accelerated programme uses additional internal and external resources to get the job done quicker. What won’t change are the safety, risk management and work practice measures we have for the safety of workers, contractors and the public.” The programme would prioritise the removal or repair of condition-zero poles close to schools, camping sites and other “high social” areas.”

ODT 24.12.16 ‘Poles spared as condition reassessed’
– “[Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult] asked Aurora to stabilise or replace condition-zero poles in the Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown central business areas before Christmas.”

It’s not just about the poles.

Related Posts and Comments:
12.12.16 Deloitte report released #Delta #Aurora
30.12.16 Hilary Calvert on Deloitte report for Aurora/Delta
6.1.17 Message to Aurora/Delta : Upper Clutha dangerous poles DON’T MIX with Holiday Campers

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *luggate*, *jacks point*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *noble*, *yaldhurst* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Central Otago, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, DVL, DVML, Economics, Education, Electricity, Finance, Geography, Health, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, OAG, Ombudsman, ORFU, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Queenstown Lakes, Resource management, SFO, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty

20 responses to “Otago’s dangerous electricity network —Aurora’s INCONSPICUOUS and INEFFECTIVE public safety messaging

  1. Gurglars

    When you run out of cash because you pay your executive team too much, there is no tin left for marketing and safety campaigns. It all is on a one way trip to wallets, from us to them.

  2. Gurglars

    Let’s get the 10% rule, the minimum payment weekly in a company’s payroll can only be exceeded by a maximum of 10 times for executive salaries. In the public service this formulae cannot be replicated from the bottom! It must start at the top and any rises in lower salaries should come from an reduced total salary vote.

  3. nick

    “Aurora Energy puts your safety first. We want all our customers, employees, contractors and the wider community to be safe around electricity. That is why we recategorized all our rotten poles, and why we ignored the very valid concerns of one of our senior managers concerning the dilapidated state of our network. We valued his safety highly as well, so much so that we escorted him safely off our premises when he found our high-risk, run-to-fail culture so completely unacceptable.

    Always keep a safe distance from Aurora’s electrical equipment and take extra care when working around electricity supplied by our network. It can kill you.

    You can take some simple steps to make sure that you, and others around you, know how to keep yourself safe when around electricity.
    Take extra care when walking around our rotten poles, especially in windy conditions. Falling lines, which we frequently let happen, are deadly.

    Read our free guide to working safely around Aurora Energy’s electricity network (PDF) before working near our electricity network. We’re here to help and can provide you information and services to help you stay safe. Unlike any other part of New Zealand, you really need to make special allowances for ensuring your own personal safety because you live in Aurora’s network area.”

  4. Elizabeth

    Reads better, nick

  5. Anonymous

    I doubt the advertisement was “cheap”. More likely it cost the equivalent of a new pole or two. That’s the sort of silly attitude you get from executives in charge of infrastructure and spending other peoples’ money. A bit like regularly checking that known, dangerous power poles at a camping ground haven’t fallen over and killed someone, instead of proactively addressing an identified hazard.

  6. nick

    Version 1. (pre whistle blowing Mission Statement)

    “Aurora Energy pay lip-service to safety. Despite the unacceptably high risk to all our customers, employees, contractors and the wider community, we are prepared to neglect the safety of our network. We believe our commitment to the people of Otago is firstly in providing subvention payments to the Dunedin Stadium, and secondly in providing dividends to the DCC when we can.

    We also believe that the culture of corporate largesse is important. Safe network maintenance spending is secondary to providing internationally competitive salaries to our growing number of executive and senior management personnel. We also believe that rebranding Delta, our preferred contractor, is necessary on a regular basis to ensure they convey the image of a highly successful infrastructure maintenance company.

    We have worked very hard on maintaining the perception of public safety. To this end, we have recruited a specialist Risk and Capability Manager to join our Executive Team. His algorithm skills with our asset register are second to none. It has helped to ensure that our Health and Safety obligations and targets are easily achieved.

    Finally, we do not wish to alarm either the DCC or our parent company DCHL with any knowledge about the true state of our network. Our extensively detailed and recently commissioned report on the poor condition of our network assets, while very concerning, is best kept in-house. Our directors have chosen to only make the briefest cursory reference to this document. We encourage all our employees to continue holding our network together with confidence. Red tagging thousands of unsafe poles only undermines this goal. We genuinely hope that none will raise any concerns other than the time and venue for our annual staff Xmas party.”

  7. Elizabeth

    nick is now writing the perfect documentary movie script.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    Let me put in a plug for gaffer tape. Hold the network together with confidence and gaffer tape. Look ma, it’s safe to pitch the tent under now.

  9. Elizabeth

    Wed, 11 Jan 2017
    ODT: Mini-tornadoes tear through Cromwell
    Police are warning some Cromwell residents to stay inside after a “spate” of mini-tornadoes left a trail of damage throwing objects up to 500 metres.
    ….[Police] warned there may be delays as power poles have come down in some places. A Fire Service spokesman said firefighters from Cromwell Station were called to a powerline down on the corner of Ord and Kawarau Gorge Rds in Cromwell at 5.49pm. Firefighters were assisting police with traffic control, he said. Cont/

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    I do hope someone from Aurora was “observing” the poles as they succumbed to natural forces: wind and gravity.
    I wonder what colour the stickers on those poles were, Reds or Algorhythm’n Blues?

    • Elizabeth

      Thu, 12 Jan 2017
      ODT: Destructive mini-tornadoes shake up Cromwell residents
      A series of mini-tornadoes left a Cromwell woman “shaking and terrified” and caused a trail of destruction in the town last night. Police warned residents to stay inside after objects were thrown high into the air about 5.30pm. […] A police spokeswoman said there were reports of up to four mini-tornadoes in the Sommerfields area. Cont/

      Cromwell firefighters responded at 5.49pm after a power pole fell near the corner of Ord and Kawarau Gorge Rds. Delta operations manager John Campbell said the pole fell as a result of the tornado and several hundred customers in Bannockburn, Hawksburn and Ripponvale lost power. Linemen repaired the pole and power was restored about 10.30pm.

  11. Elizabeth

    Wed, 11 Jan 2017
    ODT: Power still out after huge blaze
    More than 300 consumers face up to 48 hours without power as crews continue to battle a huge scrub fire on the Glenorchy road near Queenstown. The fire at Rat Point, which cut power to Glenorchy and affected access to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, has been contained after a co-ordinated and sustained aerial and ground attack by fire crews today. Helicopters and fire crews from throughout Otago have been battling the 150ha blaze, which began about 11.30pm on Tuesday.
    ….Aurora Energy has advised that the 335 customers affected in the Glenorchy, Kinloch, Moke Lake, Paradise and Routeburn areas can expect to be without power for at least 24 hours, with the possibility of this extending to 48 hours or longer. Delta has begun work on the power poles which received extensive damage in the fire, and are also assessing longer term contingency measures. Cont/

  12. Elizabeth

    RNZ Live News Published on Jan 10, 2017
    Glenorchy fire footage
    Firefighters are using monsoon buckets to fight the blaze which has cut off the small Central Otago town of Glenorchy.

    Wed, 11 Jan 2017 at 10:22 p.m.
    RNZ News: Illegal campers suspected to have caused Glenorchy blaze
    Campers are being warned not to light fires in the Queenstown-Lakes District, after a big scrub fire started at a well-known illegal camping spot.
    Helicopters have been used to battle the Glenorchy blaze. The fire cut road access to Glenorchy for much of the day, incinerating more than 150 hectares of native grass and bush on steep terrain, as blustering winds approached 100 km/h. Authorities believe it started at a campsite at Rat Point, and police have requested information about anyone who was in the area last night. Glenorchy Road resident Mark Scaife said there had been constant problems with illegal camping and campfires at Rat Point, which was about 300m off the road. The Department of Conservation (DOC) said there were signs at Rat Point forbidding camping and the lighting of open fires. Cont/

    the-fire-cut-off-power-and-access-to-glenorchy-photo-qldcthe-fire-cut-off-power-and-access-to-glenorchy-1-photo-qldcthe-fire-cut-off-power-and-access-to-glenorchy-2-photo-qldcThe fire cut off power and access to Glenorchy [Photos via QLDC Twitter account]


    T R A G I C

  13. Elizabeth

    An investigation begins today to determine the cause of the blaze.

    Thu, 12 Jan 2017
    ODT: Power restored to Glenorchy after blaze
    Power has been restored to Glenorchy and a huge fire largely contained after it razed 150ha of native scrub and closed the road for about 15 hours. […] The power was cut about 1.30am yesterday after the fire burned through “multiple power poles” over a 1km stretch. Aurora Energy spokesman John Campbell said the outage affected about 350 customers in the Glenorchy, Kinloch, Paradise, Routeburn and Moke Lake areas. Six power poles were extensively damaged. Crews from Delta worked overnight and restored the power connection about midnight on Wednesday, earlier than anticipated. Cont/

    Thu, 12 Jan 2017
    ODT: Glenorchy people tough it out



  14. Elizabeth

    Thu, 12 Jan 2017
    Glenorchy blaze ‘started by campfire’
    Investigators say the huge blaze that cut power and road access to Glenorchy was started by a campfire on a Lake Wakatipu beach. The fire began about 11.30pm on Tuesday. It quickly jumped the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road before ravaging the face of Jessie Peak, burning through very steep scrubland. The Otago Regional Fire Authority (ORFA), aided by police, said after an initial investigation on scene this morning they were confident the blaze was started by a campfire on the beach below Rat Point.

    The ORFA is asking the public for any information that may help the investigations, and said they were particularly interested in sightings of a white van that was seen at Rat Point on Tuesday afternoon.

    █ Anyone with information was are asked to call ORFA on 0800 673 473 or contact the police.

    Otago is currently in a restricted fire season.

    For all fire season information go to:

  15. Elizabeth

    Information provided by the van occupants has led the investigation team to seek an older model dark-coloured station wagon, possibly grey or green, occupied by a man and a woman, thought to be in their mid 20s. The couple had been down by the lake and were seen coming back up, getting into their car and driving away just before the fire started.

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