Power to the people

Lines company Alpine Energy is bringing in some extra generators to ensure Tekapo customers don't lose their power during the planned Transpower outage.

The national grid operator will take its Tekapo substation out of service from 9am to 4pm on March 11 and 8.30am to 11.30am on March 18 to undergo planned maintenance.

It is a move that would have left at least 400 customers without power, but Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said it decided to bring in mobile generators to ensure this did not happen.

"We offered to share costs on some backup generators with Transpower, but they decided not to.

"We appreciate they don't have any precedent or responsibility to do so, but this is a busy time for businesses, particularly those in the tourism and hospitality sectors," Mr Tombs said.

The mobile generators should be able to provide power for most of the resort township, but Mr Tombs said parts of Simon's Pass, Mt Cook Village and Lakeside Drive were not reachable.

"Most of the businesses and residents in those areas already have backup generators, so we trust they should be safe during the outages," he said.

"Alpine Energy did not have a contractual obligation to provide generators, but there is a strong feeling that supporting our customers during the outages is the right thing to do."

Mr Tombs acknowledged the upgrade to the Tekapo substation would have long-term benefits to the community.

Alpine would also carry out maintenance on its own assets in Tekapo during the outage.

The Timaru Herald