Difficult access causing delays in weather-related power restoration

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

High winds late on Monday night caused trees in a forestry block in eastern Manawatū-Whanganui to fall and break multiple power poles and lines.  

A total of 183 customers in the Pongaroa, Ākitio, Akaroa, Mara and Aohanga areas lost supply just after 10.30pm Monday.  

Field crews were on-site today (Tuesday) assessing the damage, Powerco Head of Network Operations, Caz Haydon, says. 

“Our crews started replacing the damaged poles - there were five poles down, four of which were broken, that we knew of. Unfortunately, visibility of any further damage is limited as we’ve been unable to use a helicopter to survey the line from the air today because of the weather.

“We're working to get an 11kV generator to this site. This would enable us to reinstate power to all customers in the areas while the work is being completed to get the poles fixed or replaced and the lines back up,” Caz Haydon says.  

Once the damaged poles have been replaced, it’s likely that a helicopter will be needed to restring the lines, she says.  

“The helicopter company is rightly carrying out a risk assessment, as the corridor between the forestry trees may be too narrow for the helicopter to safely access the area. If this is the case, more trees will need to be felled and larger machinery used to get the poles in and out,” Caz Haydon says.  

“I know that being without power for any length of time is difficult, so I’d like to personally thank those customers for the patience and understanding while we work as quickly and safely as possible to make repairs to the network.”  

Meanwhile, around Matau, inland from Stratford in Taranaki, 41 customers will be without supply for a second night tonight (Tuesday) after trees bought down power lines on Junction Road just after 9.30pm during strong winds on Monday night.  

Again, access proved difficult for field crews today, with a helicopter needing to be used to restring the power lines on Wednesday.  

How customers can stay safe 

If people see downed power lines, it’s important to: 

Stay at least 10m away from the lines and poles - that's about the length of a bus. 

Call 111 immediately or Powerco's emergency number, 0800 27 27 27.  

Downed lines should always be treated as live.  

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