Dunedin City Council-owned company [Aurora Energy Ltd] was showing signs it would return to its old ways as soon as public pressure began to lift.
ODT Online Thu, 19 Jan 2017
Claim Aurora facing $1b bill
By Vaughan Elder
The former director of Aurora Energy’s $30 million accelerated pole replacement programme says it is doomed to fail and believes the company faces a billion-dollar spend to upgrade its network. Jarrod Stewart says he quit the role last month in part because he believed the programme to replace thousands of compromised poles would be mishandled so badly someone would be injured. “I don’t enter jobs with the premise that I am going to fail,” Mr Stewart said. His claims were yesterday disputed by Aurora and Delta chairman Steve Thompson, who said they were “exaggerated” and it was disappointing he had gone public after leaving the company.
For real change to happen there needed to be a clean-out of management and the appointment of a “fixer” chief executive with an appetite for change and a willingness to make unpopular decisions.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
This post is offered in the public interest.
21 responses to “Jarrod Stewart is EXACTLY RIGHT [what would Steve Thompson know]”
When the worms are leaving the woodwork you know the ship’s timbers are in very bad shape indeed.
There is an inherent state within the DCC of denial and it continues to this day. Deny that there was any institutional problem that allowed a number of people to steal 150+ cars without anyone noticing, a denial that there was anything wrong with the stormwater infrastructure, a denial that the stadium is losing money hand over fist, a denial that there was anything wrong with the Aurora network, a denial that Delta were out of control in their “investments”. These are just some of the issues.
The first reaction to any revealing of facts is to attack the person or persons and to belittle their character or motives. The next is to mitigate any damage by control of media releases and using all available contacts within media to control what is being said. Never admitting responsibility or accountability are central to this.
The next is to control any subsequent action. Typical way of doing this is to set up an inquiry with controlled objectives and scope. If any outside agencies such as Police are involved, then use all possible connections to dissuade those agencies to act.
Last thing to do is to carry on as before and wait until public concern and media interest reduces over time.
Aurora’s troubles and position are caused by a Council controlled company not ensuring that the top priority was the proper running of a business designed to produce a sustainable dividend to the citizens of Dunedin, this position enabled by a compliant Council desperate to have the maximum amount of cash diverted to the stadium.
Delta’s troubles are caused by an out of control company involved in non-core activities and a link to Aurora which resulted in inefficiencies which are almost impossible to believe.
We have already seen Cull unwilling to listen to, or accept, anyone’s views other than his “own men”. Another brave person has now bought a glimpse of reality to him via the ODT and Cull has already adopted the continued position of “only public perception”, a “safe” network, and “confidence” in the existing governance and management.
There will be no change at all unless change is forced.
Watched Jaws the other evening. A classic of course and still makes you think twice about going in the water. It’s meant to be fiction though, except the part where the Mayor and his cronies ignore the threat of something dangerous circling the town and killing its citizens. For some reason that plot reminded me of the power network, particularly after today’s response from Aurora and Dave Cull.
One of the most disappointing features russandbev is that the modus operandi never changes. The lack of real thought and real action about the relevant various PR campaigns would suggest that that contract in particular is another of the two parties agreeing neither of which are the payer type, as any sensible business having twice received the same advice and modus operandi would not call on that consultant again having milked them of their total abilities. However if the payer keeps paying the two parties why not stick to the one line, much more profitable.
I would tend to believe Richard Healey and Jarrod Stewart with their summation of the true cost of fixing up Steve Thompson’s ‘1962 Cortina.’ (His analogy of the Aurora network – not mine).
It’s a massive cost to rectify decades of neglect and underspending on essential network maintenance. And as has been noted, the $30 million appears to be just for the highly visible stuff (rotten poles) and not the underground end-of-life HV cables, obsolete switchgear, transformers, potheads etc etc.
We have 4 years until the Commerce Commission allows Aurora to increase Lines Charges, based loosely around profitability – what they deem to be a fair and reasonable return on capital. Prepare for an almighty increase in Aurora’s lines charges at that time, because they are faced with massive capital expenditure from now on.
A/D have also signalled another bloated layer of salaries for new managers and fees for new directors to provide the necessary separation of Aurora from Delta, as recommended in the Deloitte report. Delta’s present crop of managers are presently paid $12m per annum, up from $3.3m when Grady Cameron took over as CEO in 2009.
Given that DCC/DCHL/Aurora/Delta have actually misappropriated the revenues from lines charges, by diverting them from essential network maintenance to instead help cover the Stadium losses, consumers, especially in Central Otago, will have a fair case to argue against any future lines charge increases.
The Commerce Commission is lobbied hard by Lines Companies before they make their final determinations on allowable charges. And they are open to submissions from affected parties.
Accountants, accountants and accountants, that’s what it takes to fix a basic engineering problem, mainly due to accountants demanding monies for the “not a cent over $188million, in fact $200 and mumble million dollars Stadium”. It is all it takes from accountants till it starts to break apart, then the accountants appoint a firm of accountants to review the activities of the company and pontificate and also prevaricate against any engineers’ comments. As long as the world is run by accountants then that is as long as it will take to meaningfully address the problems. For a start shut the Stadium up and get some honest people to assess the true running costs plus maintenance and from that, set the users’ costs. End of story. If it means that the Stadium is not used it goes without saying that the city can’t afford it.
Then turn your attention to the other main problems requiring attention. Regardless of the costs of doing same fix it, that is what engineers would do. Then stop all non essential activities like cycleways, swimming complexes and glamour projects. At the same time put the Mayor on notice of failure in carrying out his and council’s activities of running the city on an unmanageable financial basis. Seriously look at the staff employed in non financial activities and dispense with them. Cut the operation down to the minimum and concentrate on getting the infrastructure right. Once that has been done with attention given to maintaining it in top condition then and only then should the city be given any license to explore and adjust its activities. Not an accountant in sight, but rather in the back rooms doing as they are told. Likely? Not as long as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, with the Mayor and council we are stuck with. We have been watching the city, like a slow moving train wreck as it slowly but innexorably destroys itself while the Mayor keeps telling us Dunedin is one of the best ‘small cities’ in the world, and fully believing it as being true. Amazing how dense and single minded a person can be.
It’s simple really.
Just evaluate all beneficiaries.
“Naked Self Interest”
The shocking truth about the lines into Mosgiel where so many wretches plan to end their days on a flood plain in the sun, on high class soils suburbanised: *gasp*
ODT story with an interesting but expected twist….
“Investigations confirmed the insulator “failed” when heavy frost split a crack somewhere on the porcelain body. Such failures were rare. The lines were checked every year, or after a fault, but such weather-prone cracks were not easily spotted. A full audit would require the line to be shut down while each insulator was checked. Such an audit appeared unlikely.”
Sounds like more DEAD Cows and People to come.
Aurora/Delta/DCHL/DCC, SHAME @@@@@@
And today, of all days, Mr Cull obviously doesn’t think there’s need to FUND AND FIX the Otago power network which *might* impact the DCC 2017/18 annual plan and LTP, NOOOOO not by a *mere* Eight Dead Cows. Nope, “WE” are going to gentrify Central Dunedin for all the dickheads that need a legacy on their political dance cards. Push that ONE BILLION DOLLARS OF UPGRADES AND REPLACEMENTS Aurora needs into the bovine offal pit where it cannot be seen. Just pedal hard to work each day at your HOT AIR bunker like nothing’s happening. Whatever Daaaave.
That would be ONE BILLION DOLLARS for Aurora’s poles and equipment, ONE BILLION DOLLARS for the severely neglected stormwater system and probably another ONE BILLION DOLLARS for the sewerage and reticulated water pipe renewals.
The important decisions of the DCC Annual Plan have already been made and the decision is to ignore the problem of the neglected infrastructure. In fact the decision is to DECREASE the amount to be spent on fixing this problem. Capital expenditure (CapEx) budgeted for next year is less than for this year and much less than was planned for in the Long Term Plan.
CapEx for this year = $60.4 million (annual plan 2016/17)
CapEx for next year = $58.1 million (annual plan 2017/18)
CapEx for next year = $68.5 million (current long term plan)
This decrease in spending on replacing worn out infrastructure comes at a time that very large increases are needed to maintain reasonable levels of service. The city’s assets are wearing out faster than they are being replaced. This degradation of the infrastructure has happened for a while and our dim-witted councillors will, in a month or two, vote to continue this process. Let me make it clearer: the huge backlog of infrastructure renewals that has accumulated over the years will be even worse by the end of this financial year – and next year, it will be even worse than that. Think of this as being like asset stripping. We have seen the result of this with Aurora’s condition zero poles and the very poor state of the stormwater and sewerage systems. The Mayor and CEO have the obligation to be honest with the councillors and make sure they and the citizens are fully informed.
Starting on Monday 23/1/17 Council meets to approve the draft annual plan. Only three of the annual plan documents are publicly available – get them here: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/agendas-minutes
JimmyJones – yarp. Too depressing eh. Was waiting until tomorrow to start in on Draft Annual Plan but diligent observer that you are, you’re onto it like clockwork. Exactly – it is ultra mind blowing but here we are, with DCC chasing Pet Project glass and gloss in the CBD. None of which spending has a hope in hell of increasing the number of Dunedin ratepayers to offset the INCREDIBLY MASSIVE (no font size large enough here to convey the effect unless I create an image file………..) DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL DEFERRED INFRASTRUCTURE SPEND.
Remember Tourism is cheap.
Grievous Odds !!!!
Feel I must elope from these parts. Or die.
We can’t be victims of these people. Fight and win, or die trying. Some things are worth fighting for.
I know. Sick of everyone having to point out the obvious to dullards and crims.
Life has to be better than this.
Comment to Facebook post:
Richard Healey : Poor old mother nature may be getting the blame but the winds yesterday never reached half of the wind speed those lines should take.
Fri, 20 Jan 2017
ODT: Power cut hits Port Chalmers homes
Power is out for scores of customers in the Port Chalmers area after a falling tree downed lines. In a statement this morning Delta said power went out around 6.30am to 137 customers from Carey’s Bay to Aramoana. The estimated restoration time was midday. Cont/
Cows don’t matter!
And when people are killed by the same exercises in stupidity, you will be astounded to find that the only people that matter are those paid by the DCC, Aurora, Delta and environs.
Thu, 19 Jan 2017
ODT: Havoc as weather bomb hits in South
A weather bomb has hit Otago bringing high winds, heavy rain and leaving a trail of damage in its wake. The southerly front resulted in winds of up to 135kmh in Otago this morning, bringing down trees and branches across the region, including in Roxburgh and North Otago. A line came down in Outram, electrifying a fence, setting hay bales on fire and damaging a shed. Power has now been restored to the Outram, Maugatua, Momona and Otakia areas. Cont/
● Power has been restored to all but 87 customers in the Smith Street, Roslyn and Highgate areas.
● Power is out to 103 customers in the Dalmore, Northeast Valley and Gardens areas.
● In Central Otago, power has been restored to most.
● It is likely that power will remain out overnight to 14 customers in the Island Block, Millers Flat and Raes Junction areas.
– Additional reporting by NZME
Otago Daily Times Published on Jan 18, 2017
Weather bomb brings down power-lines near Outram
A line came down in Outram, electrifying a fence, setting hay bales on fire and damaging a shed.
The Green Party NZ has been caught telling lies about yesterday’s weather bomb. They have tried to link the bad weather to man-made global warming. But, Dave Stewart, our local hydrologist and weather expert knows more about climate than the average Greenist politician: Last night on Ch39 TV Dave told us that “it’s nothing to do with climate change – it’s just crap to even say that. It is mischievous and those people should know better.”
Ch39- Mid-summer gale force storm buffets the south
I note Otago Museum is credited with Climate Change exhibitionism linked to “South Dunedin”. I now have no reason to visit their hallowed halls – until the all-clear is given.
Elizabeth, do you not notice that the government, the media, the universities and probably the school teachers are all ravers of Climate Change. You’d have to admit that those ‘bozos’ in the UN backed IPCC outfit have done a grand job of brain dazzling. Ever since Agenda 61 held in Brazil when the late James Morris held sway the message has been spread far and wide. Even now we are being pestered by the fact that the world was hotter in 2016 than ever. This is despite there being no data to sustain the claims. The present winter in the Northern Hemisphere is on record as being the worst in 160 years. Just because we have finished a year or two of ‘El Nina’ is not sufficient to sustain their claims. Sure, there are some hot spells in Australia, but none record breaking. It is a great game of tell enough often enough then watch the ‘mob’ catch on and run with it.
It’s nearly always hotter or colder or drier or wetter or windier, somewhere, every year. Better measuring, recording and sharing this info may have something to do with assertions. Even now there are many parts of this planet barely known about except by the few non-English/French/Spanish speakers living there in the spaces between the inter netting.