Good Progress on Rebuilding Damaged Lines

Press Release – Powerco

Lines crews are making good progress restoring power to customers in Whanganui and South Taranaki.
7 March 2012 – 4.30pm
Release #14

Good Progress on Rebuilding Damaged Lines

Lines crews are making good progress restoring power to customers in Whanganui and South Taranaki.

Today, power was restored to more areas including Manaia, Kakaramea, Manutahi in South Taranaki, and parts of Whanganui.

Extreme winds on Saturday ravaged the network, bringing down many poles and about 600 lines. Some transformer structures have been completely destroyed.

The most significant damage to the network was in the remote areas of Wh anganui, Patea, Waverley and the Waitotara Valley.

Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said Powerco’s main priority is safety and reminded people there are still many lines that remain down and they must be treated as live at all times. Some of the lines were across roads and paddocks.

“People should contact Powerco on 0800 272 727 to report any lines that are down – we don’t mind being told more than once about lines being down.”

Mr Marsh said crews would be out in the field until all properties had power. “About 1300 customers remain without supply and we’re committed to getting supply back on as soon as we can.”

He explained that when “backbone” power lines had been repaired, some individual properties may only have partial power. Customers who do not have any power, or supply to only parts of their property should contact their electricity retailers. This is especially important when neighbours have their power back on.

“While there are a number of crews working to get all residents back on supply, it may be helpful if we can be pointed to individual properties,” Mr Marsh said.

Due to the scale of the damage, there are areas that would take at least another week to rebuild, he said. “Spans of lines across large valleys and rivers have been brought down by the storm. Overgrown trees have fallen in their path and have to be cleared before sections of the network can be rebuilt.”

He said the work could flow into next week so a small number of customers in these areas would be facing prolonged power cuts. “We’re looking at what possible options there are for generators but people should be prepared for extended periods without supply.”

Powerco is New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas distribution utility with around 420,000 consumers connected to its networks. Powerco’s electricity networks are in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Taranaki, Wanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu and the Wairarapa. Its gas pipeline networks are in Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay. Information about Powerco is available on its website www.powerco.conz

Customers should contact their electricity retailers to report faults and for estimated restoration times. People should ring Powerco on 0800 272 727 if they see dangerous sections of the network or lines that are down.

ENDS

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