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Powerco is investing over $33 million to improve reliability and increase capacity of power supply for the South Waikato towns of Putaruru and Tirau, and the Hinuera area. We’re building a new connection to the national grid with a 110kV circuit from Transpower’s Arapuni substation to supply a new transformer at the existing Powerco Putaruru substation.

The area is currently supplied by a single line between Transpower’s Karapiro and Hinuera substations. When the line experiences an outage or is out of service for maintenance there is complete loss of power to about 11,500 addresses. Once the new Powerco circuit and transformer are commissioned, this additional national grid connection will help ensure security of power supply for the region.

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The challenge

The Putaruru, Tirau and Matamata areas are supplied by a single Transpower line. When the line experiences a fault or is out for maintenance, there is loss of power to 11,500 customers in the area. 

The solution

Build a new circuit from Transpower’s Arapuni substation to the Powerco Putaruru substation, and upgrade the substation with a new building, transformer and new equipment. 

Once commissioned, if the existing Transpower line fails, supply will continue through the new Powerco circuit.  

The benefit

An additional national grid connection helping ensure the security of power supply for the area. 


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Commission new circuit

Begin construction of circuit

Finalise the detailed design for the circuit

Confirm route for the circuit

Construct new substation buildings

The first part of the South Waikato Grid Connection project is to replace the building - which doesn’t meet earthquake resilience standards - and upgrade the equipment at the Putaruru substation.


Find out the latest updates about this project


We can never 100% guarantee supply, however the circuit will help ensure security of supply for the region, providing extra capacity to cope with growing demand, and providing an alternative line of supply when the single Transpower line the area currently relies on is out.

The poles will be 18-20 metres high, with spans of 50-200 metres between each pole.

Here are some artist’s impressions of what the poles will look like


We are using a mix of underground cable and
overhead lines due to considerations including cost
and terrain.

Detailed designs will be ready mid-2021.

At this stage we plan to start construction by the end
of 2021 and be complete by mid-2023.

We can never guarantee 100% supply, however
this circuit will help ensure security of supply for the

All high voltage lines can emit noise – usually a hissing during wet weather and a low hum may be audible during fine weather. The line is being designed to meet the relevant AS/NZ7000 2016 standard which states that audible noise levels must comply with Environmental Protection Authority, government authority and local council regulations for noise.

Yes. We follow international guidelines for exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). At its peak (standing right underneath lines for instance), the EMF would be 9.9 microteslas, well beneath the guidelines which recommend exposure of no more than 200 microsteslas.

We don’t anticipate causing any issues to radio or communication dish devices. We are designing the overhead line to national guidelines which consider the impact to any radio communications.

Not necessarily. We place stakes in the ground as part of our detailed design work. This process helps to ensure that we place the poles in the most suitable locations. It considers factors such as road safety and vegetation. We staked a number of pole placement options, so if you see a stake it doesn’t necessarily mean a pole will be placed there.

Vegetation will need to be kept clear of the overhead sections of the circuit. We’ll be assessing where vegetation will need to be removed as part of our detailed design work. We will cover all costs associated with removing trees and vegetation, and we will be in touch with individual landowners if there are any trees that need to be removed from private property.

The lowest line will be 6.5m above the ground.

We’re building the circuit to connect Transpower’s Arapuni Substation at the end of Powerhouse Road to our Putāruru Substation on Arapuni Road.

In 2019, early in our planning process, we engaged with local iwi and the South Waikato District Council around the project.

Following that engagement we initially proposed building the circuit within road reserve per the map below.

(Road reserve is set aside for the construction of essential service infrastructure like gas, electricity, communications, water and wastewater – which is why services like ours are usually visible along roadsides).

We engaged again with Iwi, the local community (through a public information session) and the South Waikato District Council, Mayor and Councillors (through a presentation at chambers) in October 2020 to share the proposed line route.

We heard feedback from the public and Council, in particular opposing the proposal to take the line through Old Taupo and Pearsons Roads.

In response to that feedback we reviewed the route, which included moving part of the route to go through private land parallel to Arapuni Road (see the map below).

We then engaged with landowners to secure easements to build the circuit through their land. We successfully completed those negotiations in May 2021 and subsequently confirmed the route shown in the map below.

We returned to the community in June 2021 to share the confirmed route and our detailed map. We’re now reviewing further feedback from the people who live, work and enjoy the amenities along the route as we work towards finalising the design prior to starting construction.


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