Maike van der Heide continues a series looking back over stories of interest from the Marlborough Express files. This story is from October 22, 1981.
Marlborough residents face a major and costly change to their power supply as Blenheim's century-old "old and ailing" gasworks face closure, it is announced on this day.
Long-promised plans to provide bulk LPG gas retailing have been scrapped, meaning the 188 commercial and 670 domestic coalgas consumers will have to convert to bottled LPG or switch to electricity. The cost for converting a household of appliances is estimated to be between $800 and $1000, the Marlborough Express reports, so the government-appointed Gas Council is offering up to $250,000 compensation - just $300 per consumer. The Gas Council was also likely to wipe a $400,000 accumulated loss sustained by the gasworks over its 100 years of existence.
Though the Blenheim Borough Council planned to sell LPG bottles, it intended to sell its bulk storage tanks that had been earmarked for holding LPG gas sourced from the North Island. The council's chief executive, Bryan Kilgour, was unhappy at the closure, saying council expected many of its gas consumers to convert to LPG which was based on supplies being shipped across Cook Strait.
- The Marlborough Express