Unison and Transpower were honoured to receive the prestigious Network Initiative of the Year award at the Energy Excellence Awards last night, which recognised the innovative and collaborative efforts taken to restore power in Hawke’s Bay following Cyclone Gabrielle.
In the face of immense devastation, Unison and Transpower worked quickly to collaborate and apply innovative solutions that prioritised the safety and welfare of the community.
Unison Group Chief Executive, Jaun Park, said, “Recognising the critical role electricity had for the welfare of our communities and for our regional response and recovery efforts. Restoring power as quickly and safely as possible was our key priority, which often meant going beyond traditional approaches to do so.”
“Each step of the way our teams put our communities at the heart of every decision and worked relentlessly to get the job done, for this I am immensely proud.”
“This formal recognition of a job well done is testament to the dedication and resilience of all our teams from across Unison, Transpower, and also the wider industry who sent crews to bolster our response – thank you.”
“Most importantly, we are forever grateful to our communities and customers for their patience and ongoing support throughout what was, and still is, an incredibly challenging time for Hawke’s Bay. Our efforts now focus on ensuring we play our part in supporting our region’s long-term recovery and energy resilience.”
Transpower Chief Executive, Alison Andrew, added, “The extent of the disruption to electricity supply in the region was beyond anything we had seen before. It was clear very early on that an innovative approach would be required. Working with our lines company partner Unison and our service providers, we were able to reconfigure our networks and get power restored to urban centres weeks earlier than if we had taken a more conventional approach and simply restored our damaged equipment in its prior configuration.
“The positive response our teams received from the community and customers was overwhelming, with online and social media messages providing much-needed morale boosts for our hardworking teams facing challenging conditions.”
Unison and Transpower thank Freeman Media, category sponsors Utilities Disputes and the judges for recognising their work to get power restored to Hawke’s Bay communities as quickly as possible following Cyclone Gabrielle.
As they plan permanent repairs in the Hawke’s Bay region, Unison and Transpower are developing strategies for building more resilient assets to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and climate change.
Unison’s award-winning sustainable and modular Windsor substation serves as a blueprint for future substations on the network. With three substations needing replacement following Cyclone Gabrielle, Unison is developing a replacement plan to build additional resilience into these assets as quickly as possible.
Transpower has been focusing on building more resilient infrastructure in response to climate change and risk. This experience has highlighted the crucial role electricity plays as a lifeline for communities in Aotearoa.