Crews work to restore power in challenging conditions
Field crews throughout Powerco’s electricity network have worked throughout the day reconnecting customers’ power when safe to do so, in challenging weather conditions.
Gale force winds have blown vegetation into lines and lightning has struck electrical equipment, cutting power to thousands throughout Wairarapa, Manawatū, Whanganui, Taranaki, Thames-Coromandel and western Bay of Plenty from overnight Sunday and throughout today.
Powerco Head of Network Operations Caz Haydon says extra crews were called in this morning and have worked hard throughout the day to restore customers when it has been safe to do so.
“Our crews have done 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.
“High winds make it challenging to repair damaged lines and the safety of crews is very important. When winds are this high, crews are unable to work at height using elevated work platforms and ladders. This can delay restoring power.”
In one of the largest outages, 1400 customers in and around Feilding and Kimbolton lost power for 30 minutes at 3.50am today after vegetation was blown into a 33kV power line.
Meanwhile, a lightning strike in Waihi saw a tree fall on a power line on Montrose Rd, cutting power to 808 customers just before midday. Just over half of those customers had supply restored by 1pm, with crews working into this evening to restore supply to the remaining customers.
Access issues have meant crews have been unable to get to some remote sites to fix equipment. A pocket of customers in Strathmore, eastern Taranaki, are awaiting reconnection after tree branch fell on a line at 7.38pm yesterday. Access to the site is being hampered by flooding.
A group of 21 customers in Makirikiri, Whanganui region, have been unable to be reconnected also because of access issues, including slips. Depending on wind conditions, a helicopter will be used to gain access to the area tomorrow.
“For safety reasons, we’ll be standing crews down for the evening at 10pm, except for those who will be on hand to respond to any emergencies during the night. The rest of our crews will start work again in the morning,” Caz Haydon says.
In the event of an emergency such as power lines coming down, Powerco urges people to stay well clear of lines as they may be live and call its 24/7 emergency line on 0800 27 27 27.
Current outage information including estimated restoration times can be found on Powerco’s website at www.powerco.co.nz/outages.