Regional restoration update 1pm
Heavy-lifting helicopters are being used to transport equipment and restring power lines in the on-going restoration effort throughout Powerco’s electricity network following Cyclone Gabrielle.
As at 12.30pm, there were 2,033 customers without power across Powerco’s network – down from 3,047 at 4pm yesterday. See regional restoration updates further below.
• Coromandel – 734 customers
• Taranaki – 525 customers
• South Waikato – 169 customers
• Wairarapa – 159 customers
• Bay of Plenty – 77 customers
• Whanganui – 43 customers
• Manawatū – 326 customers
Powerco Head of Network Operations, Caz Haydon says access is still proving difficult to some areas. A heavy-lifting helicopter is being used today to access an isolated community in Tararua, while helicopters are assisting to restring lines in other remote communities.
“Please be assured, we continue to do everything we can to restore supply to all our customers affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. We hope to get a number of customers reconnected today. However, some individual outages are proving far more technically complex than we would have first thought. The gale force winds that Gabrielle inflicted on our power poles, lines and other equipment has been huge,” she says.
“Again, and I can’t say it enough, thank you to our customers for their continued patience, support and understanding as our crews work tirelessly to get each and every one of you reconnected. We’re passing on your messages of support to the teams in the field, which has given them that extra boost they needed.
“We’re working closely with Civil Defence so, please, if you have welfare concerns, please contact your local Civil Defence group for assistance.”
Since Cyclone Gabrielle made landfall late on Sunday, there’s been more than 100,700 customers impacted on Powerco’s network.
Power restoration by region
Wentworth Valley Road: A landslip is hampering restoration teams accessing damage to lines and poles, which is affecting 20 customers in Whangamatā. Reassessment and preparation work has begun today, ahead of the reconstruction of the lines and poles, which is expected to begin tomorrow (Saturday).
Tairua: Crews continue to face issues accessing a site where at least eight power structures need repairing to restore supply to about 500 customers. This outage involves the high voltage supply – which is the backbone of the network. Restoration work will continue into the weekend.
Whitianga: A total of 21 customers on Pumpkin Hill Rd will get generation today.
Bay of Plenty
While there are still some Cyclone Gabrielle related faults in this area, all are expected to be reconnected today. Crews are moving to the Coromandel-Hauraki-South Waikato areas to assist with the restoration efforts in there.
Work is underway again today to try to access damaged equipment. Access has proved difficult with the number of trees and other vegetation hampering the repair. Field crews from the Bay of Plenty have been moved here today to help with the restoration effort.
Vegetation contractors are at Makara Rd, east of Tariki, today, removing a large number of trees and cleaning up other vegetation to enable field crews to restring a power line across the valley using a helicopter.
In Rawhitiroa, east of Eltham, work is underway on repairing a transformer to enable the restoration of customers in that community.
Field crews are also attending individual faults scattered throughout Taranaki. Some of the individual faults are proving complex because of the intensity of the wind the region received from Cyclone Gabrielle.
Crews are working to restore high voltage supply – which is the backbone of the network – to supply customers in the Kai iwi area. Vegetation contractors are removing trees and debris to assist with the Kai iwi restoration.
Manawatū cyclone-related outages are expected to be restored by tonight.
Tararua faults are still a challenge because of the access, and helicopters are required. The community from Pongaroa to Akitio has been isolated because of significant flooding and access has only viable by helicopter until now. A heavy lift helicopter is being used today to fly in equipment, materials, and crews. It is hoped that these customers will be reconnected by the end of today.
The Tinui Valley fault continues to be a work in progress, with another section expected to be restored today.
Power was restored to the majority of the Tinui township in Wairarapa late on Wednesday evening, after the Tinui substation was impacted by flooding. A tree close to the substation was removed to enable a line from Awatoi substation to supply Tinui township. Vegetation contractors are patrolling that line today to remove any trees or vegetation that have the potential to cut supply in high winds from that back-up line.
Extra crews have arrived from Wellington to assist Powerco field crews with power restoration in the area. Power is yet to be restored northwest of Castlepoint, with 10 poles down on Tanawa Rd and a tree across a line on Tīnui Valley Road.