Raglan gets New Zealand's first electricity network efficiency programme

Thursday 17 November 2011, 8:54AM

By WEL Networks



Regional lines company, WEL Networks, is taking the next step in the continuing modernisation of its network to provide customers a more efficient and reliable electricity supply.
WEL is to begin installing ‘smart boxes’ for approximately 11,000 consumers in the Raglan, Huntly, Te Kauwhata and Maramarua areas of its electricity distribution region.
The first of the new intelligent devices will be installed in November and December in Raglan, with the remainder of smart boxes being installed in the other rural areas during the first half of 2012.

The smart boxes will be installed at no cost to consumers. The smart boxes will allow real time management of power consumption through a new wireless communications system that WEL is currently installing throughout the Waikato region.

The smart boxes coupled with the wireless communications network is being coined the ‘WELconnect’ system.

Rollout of the WELconnect system will give benefits and savings to both WEL and its customers through more efficient use of power supply. The smart boxes will be able to transmit power consumption information to WEL Networks to make sure the most cost effective supply of electricity is delivered.
WEL Networks CEO, Julian Elder, says the company is on a continuing journey to deliver best outcomes for customers and to do this it will implement some of the latest, proven technologies throughout its network.

“For many years now, we’ve been looking at ways to progressively reduce our costs and make our network more efficient and reliable. At the end of the day we want the consumer to benefit. WEL wants to be in the position where we know early and proactively about issues with supply, rather than waiting for someone to phone us. That will be a major benefit of the WELconnect system.
“Electricity retailers have stated they want to provide better levels of information to consumers; we are keen to work with them and together provide new technologies to all those connected to our distribution network.

“As we take full advantage of the WELconnect technology over the coming years, consumers will have a better understanding of what power they are using because they will be able to see it as it happens. This means any changes to the way electricity is supplied or is used can potentially happen on the spot with the prospect of immediate savings,” says Dr Elder.

WEL will make contact with property owners in the Raglan area over the next few months, who will be the first to have the devices installed at their properties. WEL is looking to extend the system throughout its distribution area within the next few years.

Additional information will be provided to consumers in newsletters and on a special website which explains and answers questions about the WELconnect programme.