Issue 155 May - June 2023

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
A greener network with NOJA Power

As power distribution companies look to opening their networks to generation supplied from multiple renewable sources, one company has already developed an advanced auto-reclosing outdoor circuit breaker system to more effectively protect and control supply from 11 kV to 38 kV.

Designed from the ground up by a team of highly experienced engineers in Brisbane, the OSM recloser range from NOJA Power reduces the complexity and cost of connecting renewables to the grid and increases the hosting capacity of distribution networks utilising NOJA intelligent switchgear.

Distributed in New Zealand by OHUG, the new generation RC-20 recloser controller delivers economic gains while ensuring environmental and security protections required for distributed generation are met, says director Steve Rigby. By capturing high-resolution, real-time network data the RC-20 can provide protection, control, and monitoring solutions far in advance of a conventional SCADA system.

Rigby says this real-time management can also improve the reliability of any network by eliminating unplanned outages and cutting SAIDI and SAIFI penalties and lost revenue by up to 80 percent.

New disciplinary powers

One of the key validations used by MBIE to validate the introduction of a code of ethics to expand the disciplinary scope of the EWRB was reference to a statutory review carried out into the electrical workers regime.

This review was not conducted by the electrical industry but by MBIE’s Electrical Workers Registration Board. In this review the Board called for many changes including an expansion of the Board’s powers to allow it to suspend or cancel a worker’s licence at any time for fit and proper reasons to be addressed under a code of ethics.

This would mean that a licensed worker could be doing an exemplary job carrying out prescribed electrical work in a safe and compliant manner, but if an aspect of his general conduct was displeasing to a customer and the Board, he could be fined and lose his livelihood.

MBIE now intends to act on that by introducing a code of ethics in an amendment to the Electricity Act this year, but has shown no interest in making any other amendment to the Act or to the Electricity Regulations. This includes other recommendations made by the EWRB to improve the regulatory regime and pressing industry issues like the failure of MBIE to cite hundreds of updated standards.

Revising the role of inspectors

There is not an inspector in the country who has not come across a non-compliant electrical installation but can do little more than warn the owner because the inspector lacks the power to compel the owner to have it made safe and compliant.

While Regulation 19 requires the inspector to report an unsafe installation to the owner or to WorkSafe, this has to occur only when it “presents an immediate danger to life or property”.

For many inspectors, this is not good enough and, in the interests of electrical safety, they want more powers and an increased scope of inspection to ensure public safety.

Ironically, inspectors walked away from that opportunity during the consultation on the development of the current Electricity Regulations and, in particular, the 2012 government proposal to amend the regulations in a way that would reduce the role of inspectors on new installation work and transfer most of their functions and powers to the person connecting the prescribed electrical work to a supply.

More guidance rather than more discipline

Electrical inspectors are seeing safety risks outside their scope to pre-empt and poorly run disciplinary processes that struggle to manage the consequences. Continuing his comments in the previous issue of ElectroLink, electrical inspector Tony Doyle identifies stress points in the industry from the research he carried out for his masters degree thesis.

The disciplinary complaints process is an area that inspectors believe creates great stress on the electrical worker, owing to the length of time it takes and the perceived low quality of technical input from EWRB investigators/advisers/consultants.

Technology updates that could help in your next project

With modern technologies changing so fast, it’s often hard for us to keep up with the latest trends and developments in industry. And it seems the constant bombardment of advertising material and product announcements create more confusion rather than clarity for potential buyers.

However, it is important for us to know what’s really out there so that we can make the best possible choices for our next projects. If we can keep abreast of what the latest product offerings are, we can start to utilise these new technologies in what we do every day.

Doing so will mean that we can take advantage of the benefits on offer. This in turn will save us time, improve our efficiency or will provide some other desirable outcome. Here are three suggestions for your consideration.

Producer statements

Lighting designer Roger Golding comments on the requirements for emergency and exit lighting.

Producer statements are a component of the building consent process that most people engaged within the electrical field will have encountered. Whether you are involved in electrical engineering, architecture, or as an electrical contractor, all will be required at some point to tangle with our building codes and the official documentation that entails.

A general rule of thumb applies, if a building consent process is triggered, then there will be some paperwork to follow.

New Zealand operates under the Government’s building regulations, which have a consents process based on the Building Act and Building Code system. This is managed at the local level by individual building consent authorities, typically councils.

Each council will allow a build to proceed when it has ticked all the relevant consent processes to allow compliance. This is everything, from the design of trusses to drainage, and for the electrical industry, it includes artificial lighting.

The rise of the lighting side show

Lighting has risen to mature as a complete field. Not only do we have a fantastic industry that provides lighting to every one of us, whether it be for residential, commercial or public lighting, but we have a whole plethora of subsidiary industries sprouting up around the field of lighting that are helping to push the field to its potential. There is everything from lighting magazines, to lighting seminars and industry bodies, through to light festivals and artistic lighting installations. The breadth of the lighting industry is growing every year. Just have a google of lighting festivals and see how many events are held locally, let alone on a national or an international basis.

Lighting festivals are the culmination of public exposure to the cutting edge of lighting. They are professional events, often commissioned and funded by local government, private ventures, or a mixture of the two. It is great to see the wonder and enthusiasm that it engenders in children and adults alike. It reminds us all that there is something awe inspiring and intangible about the way light can touch the very soul of who we are. It is important for us not to forget this inspiration; it is something we can take to drive our passion and add to our push for the experience of lighting to be much more than a force of static illumination.