Scope of the Northland transmission tower failure review announced

Energy Minister Simeon Brown has today released the terms of reference for the Electricity Authority’s investigation into the Northland transmission tower failure that occurred on 20 June 2024, causing significant power outages in the region.

“What happened in Northland last week was unacceptable, with tens of thousands of consumers left without power due to poor maintenance practices, resulting in a significant cost to the local economy,” Mr Brown says.

“Quite simply, this widespread impact on families, businesses, and communities could have been avoided.

“Preserving the resilience of our energy system is a top priority, and I am taking this seriously. We need swift answers to ensure lessons are learned and mistakes are not repeated.

“That’s why I have directed the Electricity Authority to undertake a review and report back on the grid emergency event to provide a full picture of what occurred and to determine how this can be prevented from happening again.

“This Government-ordered investigation will determine the cause of the event, review the response to the event, and understand the lessons that can be learned from the recovery from the event, including the actions taken by the grid owner, system operator, and other participants.

“This will include what actions were taken to restore supply and whether these align with good industry practice, and whether there were appropriate communications from and between Transpower, lines companies, retailers, businesses, and the public after the tower had fallen.”

The Government-ordered investigation by the Electricity Authority will also take a broader look at the event, including whether it highlights any improvements that should be made to New Zealand’s electricity system resilience.

The Authority must prepare a report within 12 weeks, and the Minister for Energy will make it publicly available within 15 days of receiving the final report.