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Commerce Commission warns Transpower over breaches of quality standards

16 September 2019

National electricity grid operator Transpower has been formally warned by the Commerce Commission over breaches of quality standards.

The warning relates to the 2015/16 and 2016/17 reporting years.

The quality standards Transpower is subject to cover a range of operational outcomes like the maximum duration of outages or interruptions it can incur on parts of its network each year, the availability of assets and how it manages its assets (including renewals and refurbishing).

Deputy Chair Sue Begg saysTranspower had breached a range of quality standards over the two years.

“As part of its regulated price-quality path, Transpower proposed some quality standards that it could not realistically meet, which meant the likelihood of breaching was high. Some breaches were accentuated by natural events, such as outages caused by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and Cyclone Cook in 2017. However, some of the breaches were also influenced by factors within Transpower’s control, including a new transformer failing due to commissioning procedures that weren’t as robust as they should have been,” Ms Begg says.

“Overall, in this instance we considered a warning was sufficient, as Transpower largely acted in accordance with good industry practice during the reporting years, and consumer harm resulting from the breaches was not significant. A report we commissioned from independent engineering consultants noted that Transpower had put in place corrective action plans in response to errors and omissions, and ensured those plans were completed,” she says.

Transpower has recently indicated it also breached its quality standards in the 2017/18 reporting year, which is subject to a separate investigation.

“It is vital that Transpower ensures it is appropriately managing the issues it identifies on its network. Our decision to issue a warning letter was based on the particular circumstances of the breaches for the first two years and will inform any future enforcement decisions,” Sue Begg says.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019