New Zealand network battles wild weather

Ergon Energy, blackout, powerlines

Wild weather in New Zealand has brought down around 150 33kV poles, and about 50 11kV poles across the Taupo Plains, which is now covered in snow about 1m deep.

Unison Networks relationship manager Danny Gough said around 200 customers remain without power, and the teams had to wait for snow to melt or be cleared before they could commence the restoration program.

“Our affected network spans about 60km, all of which is covered in thick snow, and high winds blustering through the ranges.

“Along with the fallen poles, many are also broken, those poles still standing are twisted, and there are wires strewn across the landscape. It’s real network devastation.”

He advised those customers will likely face no power for about a week, and the team were working with the community to keep them as informed as possible.

“We have started calling affected customers to urge them to make alternative arrangements and will continue that tomorrow. We have also been liaising with Civil Defence, Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ, and Rural Support,” he said.

“We are all going to work together and try and ensure our community gets through this challenging time; which will also involve looking at where generators might be of most benefit for community welfare.”

Northpower, Electrix and Horizon have offered support to Unison Networks.

“Once our Hawke’s Bay crews complete restoration in the local network, they will make their way up north to assist,” Mr Gough said.