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Orion presented with international award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch-based electricity network company Orion New Zealand Limited, has been awarded a prestigious international award for technology that proved vital in reducing power cuts during the city’s major earthquakes.

The Apex Award for 2012 was presented to Orion today by executives of the Utilities Telecommunications Council (UTC). The award recognises utilities that employ communications networks to benefit the communities they serve. Orion is the first winner of an Apex Award from outside the United States of America.

Orion won the award for its private, mission-critical radio communications network that withstood all of the Canterbury earthquakes, allowing teams to start to restore power immediately while maintaining communications in the field. This innovative wireless technology was vital to Orion’s response and created benefits for the entire community, as it shortened the length of power cuts.

"Seven years ago, after a worldwide search for a modern wireless communications solution, we found the solution right here in Christchurch with a technology developed by MiMOMax Wireless Limited," said Orion Chief Executive, Rob Jamieson.

"Together, Orion and MiMOMax developed the product over a two-year period and created a radio communications solution specific to Orion’s needs. The result was a world-first wireless network which has proved its resilience and value over the past 18 months." he said.

"We are proud that our local product has been recognised internationally by a body which represents critical infrastructure operators worldwide," he said.

The wireless solution allows Orion to "talk to‟ various assets around the electricity network over a large and diverse geographical area, and operate and protect the network by remote control.

UTC has acknowledged that Orion’s earthquake response was of a standard that would, in its view, not normally be achievable and that Orion is a world leader in this area.

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