Powerco Still Restoring Power in Whanganui & South Taranaki

Press Release – Powerco

Powerco continues to make steady progress restoring power to its severely damaged electricity network in South Taranaki and Whanganui. Key parts of the network have been rebuilt at sites across the two regions after extreme winds on Saturday, but …6 March 2012 – 11am
Release #11

Powerco Continues To Restore Power in Whanganui and South Taranaki

Powerco continues to make steady progress restoring power to its severely damaged electricity network in South Taranaki and Whanganui.

Key parts of the network have been rebuilt at sites across the two regions after extreme winds on Saturday, but there are still around 2,000 customers without power. A huge effort is underway into getting them back on supply.

Powerco General Manager Electricity Andrew McLeod said power to Patea township is expected to be back on by the end of the day. “We have more than 200 staff involved in rebuilding our network and crews will be out in the field until all properties have power. We’re committed to getting supply back on as soon as we can.”

Due to the scale of the damage, there are areas that will take at least a week to rebuild. Major construction projects are needed in remote areas of Patea, Waverley and the Waitotara Valley.

“Spans of lines across large valleys and rivers have been brought down in the storm,” Mr McLeod said. “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’s main priority is safety and some lines have been disconnected to ensure the network is safe while work is carried out. The high number of damaged lines mean there are still many that remain down and they must be treated as live at all times.

Mr McLeod said customers should stay in contact with their electricity retailer to report faults. The more information the retailers can pass on to us about specific areas and extent of damage, the better.

“Our staff will also continue to work with local community groups and organisations to ensure they have access to the most up-to-date information.”

Mr McLeod reiterated that storm damage to the electricity network is the worst Powerco has experienced. Around 600 overhead lines were brought down and a large number of poles damaged in South Taranaki and Whanganui.

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.co.nz

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.

ENDS

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