Graeme Johnson

Graeme Johnson is the Quality and Compliance Manager at Aurora Energy.  He began his career in the industry in 1974 as an electrical technician before becoming a design technician with the Otago Central Electric Power Board.  Prior to this he served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as an Electrical Mechanic/Fitter.

At this time, Aurora Energy was a small, mainly rural, power supply company providing Graeme with opportunities to get involved in a wide range of work specific to the Central Otago region, which grew from tourism and horticultural activities. His early work included the upgrading, new construction, operating and maintenance of Zone substations, and working on small hydro generating plants at Lake Onslow and Teviot River, and the upgrading of the Roaring Meg Power station.

In 1994 he moved into the system control and substation area of the operation. This was the first interaction the EEA had with Graeme, and he became a key advocate for the development of a safety manual to provide consistency in work practices across all parts of the electricity supply sectors. 

In 1999, the Central Electric network was sold to Dunedin Electricity with the new Delta Utilities operating networks in both Dunedin and Central Otago. Graeme established their Control Room in Cromwell and then as the ‘System Control Manager’ in 2012, he oversaw the operation of the two control rooms including replacement of the aging SCADA systems in both areas.

Graeme has always had a strong interest in training and education, completing the Certificate in Adult Education through Massey University.  In 2009 he became an approved trainer for Transpower in their basic substation induction and entry approval procedures, then a registered assessor for Connexis, the Electricity Industry training organisation, providing ongoing training to staff and contractors to achieve the national qualifications.

In 2015 he became the ‘Quality and Compliance Manager’ for Delta (and later Aurora Energy) and early this year he became the ‘Operations Works Management Lead’ responsible for ensuring all Aurora Energy work procedures and standards are correct and fit for purpose to ensure a safe and efficient network operation.

His breadth of knowledge, field experience, pragmatic approach and work as an industry safety advocate has seen him make a significant contribution to the SM-EI, EEA safety work, and improved safety performance across the industry. 

Graeme played an important role in the 2021 digitisation and review of the SM-EI, providing case studies and information to support user understanding of the background and case studies relating to various safety rules. 

In 2012, he was appointed a member of the SSPG, representing the interests of the southern electricity distribution businesses and their contractors.

The SM-EI is now 27 years old, and Graeme continues to be a significant contributor and advocate for the SM-EI and other EEA safety guides used in our industry.

The EEA also wishes to acknowledge and thank Graeme’s wife, Ngaio, and his family for supporting Graeme’s work.

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