Power on, but more rain coming
All 6000 Whanganui and Taranaki people left without power by a devastating storm 10 days ago have had supply restored.
Powerco faultmen reconnected the remaining pocket of isolated Waitotara customers at the weekend.
However, Powerco Acting Network Operations Manager Dean Stevenson said it would take some time to repair sections of line undermined by slips, fallen trees and flooding.
Some parts of Waitotara and the Tangahoe Valley in South Taranaki would take months to stabilize and rebuild.
“The damage is extensive and we can’t do it all at once,” he said. “I can’t speak highly enough of the efforts of all crews across the Powerco operation throughout last week,” he said. “Those in the field had to cope with trying conditions, sometimes just to get to affected areas.”
At the height of the restoration work more than 70 people were involved co-ordinating and effecting repairs. Wairarapa crews were brought in to help and helicopters were used extensively to ferry in faultmen whose road access was blocked by storm damage.
“We even came to the rescue of one family who had run out of milk. The call went out so one of the crews picked up a few bottles, some tea bags and bread and dropped them off.”
Meanwhile a close watch was being kept on the long-range weather forecast with the prospect of significant rain in Manawatu, Whanganui and Taranaki on Friday and Saturday.
“Parts of the network are very fragile and it would not take much rain to upset the balance,” Mr Stevenson said.
Important customer information
When power lines have been repaired, some individual properties may only have partial power. Customers who do not have any power, or supply to only parts of their property should contact their electricity retailers. This is especially important if neighbours have their power back on.
Customers should report faults to their energy retailers to help ensure all areas without power are identified. People can also contact their retailer for information about power cuts or go to Powerco’s website http://www.powerco.co.nz/Outages-and-Faults/
Customers who wish to use their own generators must arrange for a certified electrician to connect the generators for safety reasons.
If your home has been affected by flooding you must have it checked by a registered electrical inspector before turning your electricity supply back on. There is a significant risk of serious shock or electrocution in flood damaged properties. Contact a registered electrician for more information.
If you live on Taupo Quay or Anzac Parade in Whanganui phone Powerco on 0800 200 904 to arrange for you house to be reconnected.