MainPower New Zealand Limited owns and operates the electricity distribution system throughout the North Canterbury, Kaikoura and Wigram regions in New Zealand. It also supplies line maintenance services to more than 30,000 customers.
MainPower needed a replacement system for their ageing 20 year old AM system that would give guaranteed coverage and low operating costs. The new system also needed to be a platform for future upgrades, ensuring the system could evolve with technology. With MainPower operating in over 11,000km of varying terrain, radio coverage is crucial in ensuring the safety of field workers.
Three existing sites were upgraded with a further two solar sites built. Equipment batteries, solar panels, cabling and antennas were installed into the site enclosures. Helicopters delivered equipment, fixtures and concrete to remote hilltop sites. With such remote site locations, remote monitoring of the TB8100 base station/repeater has proven indispensable.
This enables both MainPower and Tait to dial into the base station to check performance while any faults or error messages are sent through the alarm reporting email notification system. A total of 86 TM8110 mobiles with standard microphones were installed in MainPower trucks and vehicles.
Over 100 staff were trained in using the radios. MainPower uses mobile features such as scanning, horn honk and Man Down. Scanning ensures voice communications always get through while horn honk notifies field staff of any calls missed. Man Down means the radio will automatically signal for help in the event of an emergency.
Excellent customer service was just as important to MainPower. “When Tait said they’d do something they did and there was never a problem with something getting out of control and them backing away from it,” says Peter Hurford, Network Manager for MainPower.
Better coverage across a wider terrain from a more reliable system makes it safer for field workers working on the lines. Low operating costs and the flexibility to adapt the system in the future provided the answer to MainPower’s need for an economic and upgradable system.
Each migration of a PMR network presents unique challenges to operators, integrators, vendors and end users. Understand this process and equip yourself with migration planning principles.