Lightning storms caused widespread network damage

Monday, December 09, 2019

Two weather fronts caused widespread damage on Sunday.

Two weather fronts that crossed Taranaki yesterday hit the province with 1000 lightning strikes an hour at their peak.

The first came in off the Tasman sea about 8.30am and the second loomed in the early afternoon.

“We could see them coming on our computer tracking systems but it’s just a matter of waiting to assess the damage they wreak,” Network Operations manager Phil Marsh said.

More than 50 transformers were hit which caused extensive outages on the high voltage network and the strikes on low voltage lines compounded the problems.

“The low voltage lines are the ones that run from a transformer in to properties. Blown fuses and meter board damage are the most common causes of outages. If people are affected they need to log a fault through their retailer. That is how we gather our LV outage information and we act on that as soon as we can.”

At 9am today there were still 310 high and low voltage faults across Taranaki.

“After the second front passed the fault calls came in so rapidly our operators struggled to keep up.”

Extra staff from Whanganui have been brought in to help clear the remaining outages today.

“Because we keep experiencing lightning storms of this magnitude people should get their meter boards checked, especially if they have been in the direct path of a storm.”

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