Crews battle to restore power
Powerco crews were out at first light this morning to begin the major task of restoring power to customers across its Western electricity network.
About 10,200 still remain without supply but Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh expects the majority to be reconnected by the end of the day.
“We have considerable resources assessing the damage and restoring supply,” he said.
“However, there are pockets of customers, particularly in the Taihape, Waiouru and Raetihi areas, that we can’t get to because of the heavy snowfall that has blocked access. Another 30cm is expected to fall today but as soon as the weather clears we plan to scope the area by helicopter to obtain an accurate estimate of damage.”
Crewmen had identified one area where the weight of the snow had smashed 10 poles, bringing down the lines.
“We won’t be able to repair that until we can get road access.”
“The effects of this storm have been compounded by the combination of flooding, high winds and snow. The damage is very widespread.”
At 9am customers without power were Wairarapa 550, Tararua 649, Palmerston North 783, Whanganui 1315, Taranaki 3262 and Rangitikei (which includes Marton, Taihape, Waiouru and Raetihi) 3618.
Mr Marsh urged people to remain wary of downed lines. Any one coming across downed lines should keep well clear of them and call emergency services on 111 or Powerco on 0800 27 27 27 immediately.
“Use these numbers for emergency calls only. People have been calling our 0800 for information on outages which has been clogging our emergency lines. They need to call their retailer or check our faults page at www.powerco.co.nz for outage details.