New Zealand Planning For Auckland Power Crisis

By BridgeNews New Zealand Energy Minister Pete Hodgson will meet electricity industry officials next week to make contingency plans due to the potential for an electricity shortage in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland later this year. A combination of low water levels in Lake Taupo, maintenance problems at Contact Energy's Otahuhu B power station in South Auckland, and capacity constraints at Genesis' Huntly station in the Waikato may hit supply, he said. National grid operator Transpower had alerted the government early about the potential for supply problems in Auckland in the New Zealand summer months of December, January, and February. There also were transmission constraints in Auckland, Hodgson said. Contingency planning will involve energy-efficiency initiatives and the possible use of demand-management tools such as ripple control and management of air-conditioner use, he said. In February 1998 central Auckland suffered major electricity black-outs for weeks due to supply problems.

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