Words we use

Cable 
Underground electricity conductor.

Certificate of Compliance
Certifies that a service main installation is compliant with electricity regulations.

Circuit
Connects two substations. Is made up of lines, cables or a mix of both.

Conductor
Material that transports electricity. We use overhead lines and underground cables as conductor.

Distributed generation
When customers who generate their own power (solar, wind, liquid fuel) connect to a distribution network. We’re setup to enable customers who want to connect their distributed generation to our network. Learn more 

Distributor 
A company that owns the network of lines, cables or pipes that bring gas or electricity from Transpower (for electricity) or First Gas (for gas) to customers’ boundaries. Electricity distributors are sometimes also known as lines companies. Powerco is both a gas and an electricity distributor. Learn more

Earth peg
Ensures electrical faults inside a building go into the ground, keeping people safe from electric shocks. Earth pegs are usually near electricity meters and should not be touched.

Easement
A legal right to use another person’s land. We use easements when we’re putting equipment (such as poles or transformers) on a customer’s land (or their neighbour's land).

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs)
Electric and magnetic fields are produced by all wiring and appliances that carry or use electricity. We follow international guidelines for exposure to EMFs. EMFs are different from electromagnetic radiation which is produced by things like radios and microwaves. Learn more  

Fault
When your power is out. Also known as an outage or a power cut.

Fuse
A safety device that melts when too much electricity goes through it. It cuts off electricity supply quickly to ensure there is no damage to appliances or internal wiring of a building or appliances.

ICP
Installation Control Point. The point where you are connected to our network. Every ICP has a unique number and you can find yours on your electricity bill.

kW
Kilowatt. 1,000 watts.

Line
Overhead electricity conductor.

Meter
The equipment that monitors your electricity or gas use.  

MW
Megawatt. One million watts.

National Grid
Aotearoa’s high voltage transmission network. The National Grid takes electricity from where it is generated at power stations to distributors like us. Transpower operates the National Grid.

Network
Our electrical and gas equipment (such as lines, cables and pipes) that carry energy to you.

Pillar (also knowns as gyro, pod or service box)
Pillars connect your service main to our network if you have an underground service cable, rather than an overhead service line. Pillars are usually plastic boxes on the boundary of your property.

Powerco-approved contractor
An electrical or gas contractor approved to carry out work on our networks.

Retailer
A company that sells electricity or gas to customers. Your retailer monitors how much energy you use through the meter and you pay them for your electricity and/or gas use.

Service main
The line or cable that connects your property to our network. Your service main is owned and maintained by you and is not part of Powerco’s network.

Substation
A site for equipment like transformers and switchrooms.

Transpower
The State-owned enterprise (SOE) that owns and maintains the electricity National Grid. 

Outage causes 

Explanations of the outage causes shown on our outages page.  

Damaged equipment
Equipment can be damaged by things like rain getting in, foreign objects or debris blowing into it, animals, vandalism, or the age or condition of the equipment.

Defective equipment – high wind
High winds can cause lines to contact each other causing a power outage.

Fault on National Grid
When there’s an outage on the National Grid Transpower is responsible for restoring power to customers.

Fire
Sometimes fires on or below power poles can be caused by objects such as tree branches coming into contact with lines.
In the event of a fire near our lines or equipment we may turn power off in the area for safety.

Lightning strike
Lightning has struck a piece of equipment, such as a transformer.
Log your outage if you’re experiencing one during a thunderstorm because they can cause multiple small outages, rather than one large outage.
Report an outage

Site investigation underway
A field crew is on site looking for the cause of the outage. This can take time – they may need to inspect several kilometres of network to find where the outage has occurred.

Strong winds 
Strong wind causes outages by blowing trees or debris into lines, causing lines to come into contact with each other, or bringing lines down. Stay away from fallen lines and treat them as live at all times. 

Trees in lines/Clearing trees from lines
Trees growing into powerlines cause around 25% of all outages. Contractors may need to clear trees before repairs can be made. Learn more about trees near lines

Underground cable hit
An underground power cable has been damaged or cut. This is usually caused by third party digging. Damaged cables can be complex and time-consuming to repair.
Learn more about digging safely around our network

Vehicle struck pole
A vehicle has collided with a power pole. We sometimes turn power off in the area for safety so people can be rescued from vehicles, or to ensure no one comes in contact with fallen lines.

Wind-blown debris (not trees)
Wind has blown an object into lines.