Waipā bids a final farewell to two-pole transformer structures

13 March 2024 | News

Waipā Networks has replaced its network’s final two-pole transformer structure, marking a significant leap year day for the lines company.

The Te Awamutu transformer on Mandeno Street, removed on 29 February, was the last two-pole transformer structure on Waipā Networks’ network to be replaced, marking the end of an 18-year project to replace the poles.

As one of the oldest Electricity Distribution Businesses (EDBs) in New Zealand, two-pole transformers have been used on the Waipā network since the early days of electrification, adopted because they were a feasible and economically viable system for electricity distribution. The structures became a main feature of the local grid, peaking at 338 before slowly being phased out and replaced with single pole-mounted transformers.

During the removal of the final pole, Waipā Networks construction and maintenance manager Piri Bennett said it was a rewarding milestone to achieve.

“Two-pole transformers have definitely been a challenge to work with. We’ve often had to replace rotting timber, and they have heavy cross arms and multiple levels of electrical parts to work with, which present health and safety risks,” he explains.

“It has been a long time coming. The team worked hard, and now, with the completion of the project, the community and Waipā Networks team are better and safer for it. We’re all happy to see the last structure go,” Bennett adds.

Waipā Networks chief executive Sean Horgan says a project like this requires extensive planning and specialised execution.

“It comes with its challenges due to various factors such as engineering, site location, and loading considerations. The process of dismantling every structure has been carried out safely and with the well-being of the Waipā Networks team and the community in mind. This is a significant achievement for our team,” says Horgan

As the pole was officially dismantled, Bennett shared a special Māori whakatauki (saying): “Me mahi tahi tātou mō te orange o te katoa.” It means, “We should work together for the wellbeing of everyone.”