A Hastings company will from next year be partly responsible for keeping the lights on in one of New Zealand's biggest cities.
Hawke's Bay lines company Unison Networks has announced its subsidiary company, Unison Contracting Services, will carry out maintenance, renewal, and development work on Aurora Energy's electricity network in Dunedin.
Unison relationship and customer care manager Danny Gough said the Hastings-based company expected it would eventually need up to 40 new staff members, with 20 or so needed by the start of the contract, next April.
"As a part of being able to fulfil that contract, we will certainly need to ensure we have got adequate resources down there. We will go through a recruitment process down south to look to resource up and we'll still use a combination of rotating staff, as we have been doing, from Hawke's Bay as well until we get the resourcing levels we need."
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The company would also have to find a permanent depot in Otago.
The contract was awarded after a tender process and builds on the company's existing relationship with Aurora Energy.
The agreement formalises the current working relationship between Unison Contracting Services and Aurora Energy, which began when Unison Contracting Services was selected to partner with Aurora Energy to undertake its Fast Track Pole Programme in 2016.
That programme focused on the replacement of overhead assets within the region and upon completion of the initial programme in December 2017, Unison Contracting Services was invited to remain in the area to assist Aurora Energy with other essential work.
"Unison Contracting Service's performance and the positive relationships we built during that time positioned us well for a long-term partnership with Aurora Energy, which has been recognised by Unison Contracting Services being appointed as an additional service provider after a competitive process," Unison Networks Group chief executive Ken Sutherland said.
While Unison Contracting Services' initial involvement with Aurora Energy was limited to overhead poles, the formalised agreement covers a much wider range of service provision, including design.
"The agreement we have reached with Aurora Energy exemplifies the capabilities of our group and our ability to collaborate and work with other Network Companies," Sutherland said.