Large, remotely-controlled generators have been installed by Aurora Energy to provide greater power supply reliability to the West Coast town of Strahan.

The solution, which utilises new, mobile generation plant and high‐tech communications equipment, should greatly reduce the duration of power outages to Strahan, which has had a history of poor electricity reliability.

Aurora staff will be meeting West Coast Councillors during their regular Council meeting in Strahan to provide an update on the generators, and to give a demonstration of their operation.

Non-Network Solution Manager James O’Flaherty said the new generation equipment would be welcomed by the town’s 620 customers and business owners who cater for an influx of tourists each summer.

“Aurora has proposed a unique solution for a particular problem that has resulted in the reliability of electricity supply to Strahan residents being below acceptable standards for many years,’’ Mr O’Flaherty said.

“Until recently, Strahan’s power supply has been via a single, 33km‐long power line from Queenstown, which has been vulnerable to lightning strikes, falling trees and wild West Coast weather.

“This has resulted in an average of four outages a year affecting all Strahan residents, some of which have been lengthy. The single source of supply has also required Aurora to ‘disconnect’ the entire town in order to do any planned maintenance of the 33km power line from Queenstown.

“Our solution to embed alternative generation in Strahan as a contingency for power outages is highly cost-effective and will bring confidence to residents and businesses about power supply.’’

Mr O’Flaherty said the permanent substation and two high‐capacity transportable generators had already been commissioned and trialled manually, and were now remotely controllable from Aurora’s Distribution Operations Room in Hobart. Later this year the operation will be automated.

“As well as the benefit to the people of Strahan, this solution is also a financial positive for Aurora, paying off the equipment’s capital cost within a few years due to the avoidance of customer guarantee payments and potential fines from the Australian Energy Regulator,’’ Mr O’Flaherty said.

Michelle Goldsmith

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