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Power out for about 50,000 households and businesses

Author
Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Feb 2023, 10:46am
Whitianga volunteer firefighters help clear a downed tree on the road to Tairua as Cyclone Gabrielle smashes into the Coromandel with strong winds and rain. Photo / Mike Scott
Whitianga volunteer firefighters help clear a downed tree on the road to Tairua as Cyclone Gabrielle smashes into the Coromandel with strong winds and rain. Photo / Mike Scott

Power out for about 50,000 households and businesses

Author
Lincoln Tan,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Feb 2023, 10:46am

About 50,000 households and businesses across the North Island are without power this morning, with one power company saying it could last a week or more in some cases.

Northpower is reporting that 18,500 households and businesses in its Upper North Island network were without power.

“We will be throwing everything at restoring power as quickly as we can,” the company said.

It said those affected by the outage will be without power over the coming days and in some cases a week or more.

In Auckland, Vector said this morning that 15,000 of its customers were without power.

“Our crews have worked through the night to restore as many as they safely can, while more outages continue to impact the network as a result of strong winds and vegetation,” the company said.

“With the worst of the weather forecast for later today, we do expect further outages across the region and our crews are prepared for this. In some instances, it’s likely these outages will be prolonged as our crews encounter challenges, such as road access caused by fallen trees or slips, which could delay repair times.”

The worst of the weather is yet to come, Aucklanders have been warned. Photo / Brett PhibbsThe worst of the weather is yet to come, Aucklanders have been warned. Photo / Brett Phibbs

MetService’s head of communication Lisa Murray issued a warning this morning saying “today is going to be the worst day for most regions”.

The “eye of the storm” was expected to hit Great Barrier Island at midnight, about 100km northeast of Auckland.

Auckland Emergency Management’s deputy controller Rachel Kelleher said the city had gusts of up to 130km/h overnight, and further impacts from the cyclone coming this afternoon, tonight, and into Tuesday morning.

It was likely that the gale-force winds would likely bring down trees and power lines, and likely see the number of power outages increase.

AEM said lines companies have reported that thousands of homes are without power across the upper North Island, including in north Auckland.

“They are working quickly to restore power where they can, however further power outages can be expected,” Kelleher said.

PowerCo is reporting about 10,600 properties without power across the Coromandel and surrounding Hauraki District towns.

The company’s head of network operations, Caz Haydon, said its fault crews were ready to respond once it’s safe to do so.

There were multiple power outages in the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki regions from about 5.30pm yesterday, Haydon said.

She said the heavy rain had the potential to destabilise power poles in areas already sodden from recent storm events.

“We do our very best to prepare for extreme weather events and respond quickly by having extra crews on the ground ready to make repairs and restore power to our customers.

”We understand it’s hard to be without power. The safety of our crews is paramount, however, and climbing ladders to fix equipment at the top of power poles is just too dangerous in the conditions that have been hitting Hauraki-Coromandel.”

She said the company was working as quickly as possible to get customers reconnected.

Meanwhile, Haydon urged people to stay well away from downed power lines.

”It’s incredibly important that if you come across downed power lines that you treat them as live at all times. Stay well clear,” she said.

How to cope in a power outage

  • Keep torches, batteries, campstove or BBQ nearby. Take care with candles to prevent fire risk.
  • Don’t use unsafe ways to heat your home, never use outdoor gas heaters indoors.
  • Think about visiting neighbours, friends and family that might need help.
  • Listen to the radio for up-to-date news (you can listen in your car or on your phone, but it’s a good idea to conserve your phone battery).
  • You can drop into community hubs to charge your phone and have a hot drink.
  • Take care with food from your fridge and freezer to avoid food poisoning.
  • Many insurers cover food spoilage from a power outage, and may also cover temporary accommodation if you can’t stay at home. Check your policy or phone your insurer.

(source: Auckland Emergency Management)

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