Storm causes widespread outages
The storm battering the lower North Island has caused widespread outages across Powerco's electricity networks.
At 9am today about 9800 customers were without power across Wairarapa, Whanganui and Taranaki. Extra field crew have been brought in to cope with restoring supply.
Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said the storm hit Wairarapa overnight and was now headed north.
“We are keeping a very close eye on its direction and expect more damage this afternoon, particularly in Whanganui and Taranaki,” he said. “We have a 120-strong crew on storm response across our region.”
He said contractors worked through the night in the Wairarapa restoring power, particularly near Castlepoint where a tree brought down lines cutting supply to more than 400 residents.
“We are working on multiple call outs and people should take extreme care if they see trees down. People need to check for downed lines which are dangerous and must be treated as live at all times.”
People must keep clear of all downed lines and call emergency services on 111 or Powerco on 0800 27 27 27 immediately they see them.
The storm had struck right in the middle of the school holidays and he urged parents to keep family indoors.
“Trampolines and outdoor furniture become missiles and get tangled in power lines during gale force winds,” he said.
Homeowners should take steps to store or tie down backyard gear to limit the chance of flying debris striking power lines during expected high winds on Sunday, Powerco has warned.
Customers wanting information about power cuts can go to www.powerco.co.nz or call their electricity retailer.