Environment Waikato is planning to complete cost cutting changes to its flood pump system over the next financial year to avoid inevitable price rises from the dropping New Zealand dollar.
The Council’s Operations Committee has recommended increasing budgetary provision for upgrades from $650,000 to $1.3 million so that all 10 pump stations could have remote control systems installed at once and diesel generation would be completed for five stations.
The power supplier for the flood pumps, United Networks Ltd, substantially increased electricity line charges for the 52 flood pumps on the Waihou Valley and Piako River Schemes. The Council decided to use a mix of switching to diesel and time of use control for the 10 largest stations over the next two years to cut costs.
Staff had negotiated with the winning tender to reduce the contract price by $50,000 while retaining the required functions, and budget provision would only allow for one station to be completed this year. Given the precarious state of the New Zealand dollar and the likely availability of surplus plant which was developed for Y2K issues, the project could be advanced to be completed this year.
Chairman Murray Black said the longer the Council waited, the higher the cost to consumers and the project should be completed as soon as possible.