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Friday, May 6, 2011

End in sight for major Christchurch power repairs

End in sight for major Christchurch power repairs

Last updated 19:39 06/05/2011
Light is at the end of the tunnel for Christchurch's eastern suburbs with electricity network Orion announcing it expects to complete repairs to high voltage underground cables, damaged by the February earthquake, within the next three weeks.

Orion chief executive Roger Sutton said it was "a huge milestone reached during a really difficult and challenging time".

About 90 percent of the more than 600 known high voltage 11 kilovolt cable faults in the badly affected eastern suburbs have now been repaired.

"It has been an immense effort for Orion staff, and cable crews and engineers from around the country and overseas, to get to this point. In one massive shift the February earthquake caused more cable faults than we normally have in a decade," Sutton said.

Each fault takes about 12 hours for a specialist cable jointing crew to find and fix.

Once all known 11kV cable faults in the eastern suburbs had been repaired, Orion could begin to scale back its resources on the immediate earthquake response effort, Sutton said.

"We expect to be able to send home those work crews from outside of Christchurch within about three weeks. It's overwhelming, the support we've received from the electricity industry as a whole - we can't thank these companies enough."

The overall recovery work to get network capacity back to close to normal in the east should be completed by the end of July.

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