Crews continue work to restore power following storm
Field crews throughout Powerco’s electricity network were out at first light working to reconnect customers’ power following severe weather.
Gale force winds blew vegetation into lines and lightning struck multiple electrical equipment, cutting power to thousands of customers from overnight Sunday, throughout yesterday, into the early hours of this morning.
Powerco Head of Network Operations Caz Haydon says extra crews were called in yesterday and worked hard throughout the day to restore customers when it was safe to do so.
“Our crews did a fantastic job in extremely challenging conditions, and we’d like to thank our customers for their patience as they worked to get power back on as quickly as possible.
“The high winds continued overnight Monday, causing even more outages. Our crews are now out busy working through the list of weather-related outages to reconnect customers as soon as it’s safe to do so,” she says.
At 10.30am today, crews were responding to 351 jobs affecting 2,613 customers throughout Manawatū, western Bay of Plenty, Coromandel-Hauraki, Whanganui, Taranaki and Wairarapa.
“High winds make it challenging to repair damaged lines and the safety of crews is very important,” Caz Haydon says.
“When winds are this high, crews are unable to work at height using elevated work platforms and ladders. This can delay restoring power.”
Access issues have meant crews have been unable to get to some remote sites to fix damaged equipment. A pocket of customers in Strathmore, eastern Taranaki, were awaiting reconnection last night after tree branch fell on a line at 7.38pm Sunday. Access to the site is being hampered by flooding.
A group of 21 customers on the Whanganui River Road, have also been unable to be reconnected because of access issues, including slips and downed power lines across the river. A helicopter was booked to help restring the lines today. Weather conditions, however, have led to that work being postponed until tomorrow.
Current outage information can be found on Powerco’s website at www.powerco.co.nz/outages.
Meanwhile, people are being urged to stay well clear of downed power lines after a serious safety issue in Taranaki was brought to Powerco’s attention. About 6pm on Monday on Mangorei Rd, New Plymouth, a member of the public had stopped their vehicle as there was a low hanging power line across the road. Despite attempting to stop traffic, another motorist has driven through, with the power line catching on vehicle’s roof rack. The driver has then got out of the car and pulled the line off the top of his vehicle and driven off.
“That driver is incredibly fortunate they weren’t seriously injured or killed,” Caz Haydon says.
“Thankfully, the line wasn’t live, it had tripped – but the driver wasn’t to know that. Power lines that come down can often still live. Touching a live downed line can kill. That’s why we urge people that, if they come across power lines that are down or hanging low, stay well clear and contact us immediately.
“If lines come down on your vehicle, it’s vital that you stay in your vehicle and contact emergency services or our emergency line so we can ensure the line is de-energised and you are kept safe.”
In the event of an emergency such as power lines coming down, people should ring emergency services on 111 or call Powerco’s 24/7 emergency line on 0800 27 27 27.