Story: Energy supply and use

Substation designs

Electrical substations are essential points of supply in the electricity network, reducing the high voltage at which electricity is transmitted from power stations, and feeding it to a local distribution area or major industry. When first built, they roused considerable passion. In 1920s Christchurch they were called ‘an eyesore’, ‘an abomination’, ‘a dog kennel … a morgue’. Despite the efforts of the municipal electricity department to design attractive and appropriate facades, a local paper wrote that, ‘The Municipal Electricity Department has always been the enemy of city beautifying. It made a fight to secure sites on river banks for its vulgar little brick substations; it raided a reserve in Opawa, and it erected a sub-station right in the middle of an avenue of trees on the North Belt … (a station that should have been demolished long ago)’. Just occasionally, someone approved of the humble substations. They were ‘good utilitarian buildings’ or ‘a nice little palace’.

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Source: Elizabeth Hatrick, The architectural heritage of Christchurch. Christchurch: Christchurch City Council, 2003, pp. 11, 13

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Energy supply and use - Energy sources', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/23998/substation-designs (accessed 17 September 2019)

Story by Megan Cook, published 11 Mar 2010