Cyclone Gabrielle restoration

Monday, February 20, 2023

Powerco field crews are again on the ground today making repairs and rebuilding sections of the electricity network damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Areas of the Coromandel and Wairarapa’s Tīnui Valley require complete rebuilds, which will be the focus of on-going work this week, Powerco Head of Network Operations, Caz Haydon, says.

“Damage to the electricity network has been significant in some areas and there are sections that require a complete rebuild. We’ve also had to move some poles and other structures, rerouting lines, because of land instability, which takes times,” she says.

“While we can’t overstate the fantastic work our field crews have and are doing to get people reconnected, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, including new network engineering designs and easements to ensure new poles and lines can be erected.”

Planning for a rebuild of a section of the Coroglen to Tairua high voltage (HV) line (HV is the backbone of the network) is currently underway, while repair work is being carried out on the Tīnui substation in Wairarapa which was flooded. All customers attached to these storm-related projects have either generators or have power via another circuit.

Caz Haydon says it’s important to note the outage map indicates all live outages, including scheduled planned outages, on Powerco’s network – whether they’re cyclone related or not. It also doesn’t take into account whether customers are using generators or if the affected connection is the likes of a woolshed that’s not in operation.

“We’ve been working to ensure customers who’ve been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle are either reconnected onto our distribution network or, while repairs or reconstruction of the power poles and lines take place, have some form of generation for power or other arrangements have been made.

“While there has been some reassurance watching outage numbers go down on our map, it’s important to recognise that the numbers of outages now do not provide the full picture of the cyclone recovery situation. Also, as the outage map is still in ‘storm mode’ all estimated times of restoration have been removed for now,” Caz Haydon says.

If customers have animal welfare issues, it’s important they call their farm vet first and then their local Rural Support Trust. 

“We’re working closely with Civil Defence on cyclone recovery, so please contact your local Civil Defence group if you have any welfare concerns,” she says.


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