Cyclone Cook Network Damage: Crews Face Technically Challenging Network Repairs for Final Few

April 14, 2017 08:02 AM

Monday 17 April 2017, 5.05pm – Unison crews have worked hard to get the remaining one percent who lost electricity following Cyclone Cook reconnected today and fix faults for customers without hot water.

“It’s been a challenging day for crews,” said Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough.

“We have restored power to nearly all customers. As our teams head in tonight we think there will be 10 to 20 customers without power overnight.”

Danny said Unison also had around 200 no hot water faults at the start of the day and the Company had resolved around a quarter of these.

“We appreciate this is frustrating for the final few who are facing issues since Cyclone Cook whacked our network on Thursday. However, we are working as fast as we can to resolve all these issues, and throwing all we can behind it.

“Our team have done us proud again today. They’ve had to deal with technically challenging network repairs in remote areas. They have made steady progress working safely and methodically through the damage,” said Danny.

“Our teams will continue to work until dark as they have been consistently doing since Cyclone Cook hit Hawke’s Bay and get up and get into it all again tomorrow,” said Danny.

Customers still without power or hot water in Hawke’s Bay are advised to check Unison’s list of outages for details including expected restoration time: www.unison.co.nz/outages. Danny encouraged customers outside of these areas to call 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476) if they are still without power.

Previous updates

Concerted Restoration Progress Sees Most Customers Connected

Sunday 16 April 2017, 6pm – Unison crews have restored power to 99 percent of customers who lost electricity following Cyclone Cook.

“Our crews ongoing commitment and focus on the task at hand has seen them restore power to nearly all our customers today,” Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said.

Danny said Unison is aware that a remaining 80 customers in pockets around the following areas would likely face another night without power due to the extent of the damage:

  • Ridgemount
  • Tutira
  • Waimarama
  • Crownthorpe
  • Esk Valley
  • Mangatahi
  • Pakowhai
  • Whakapiro
  • Patoka
  • Haumoana
  • Tangoio
  • Twyford

“Our teams will continue to work until dark as they have been doing since Cyclone Cook hit the Hawke’s Bay region on Thursday night. We realise that the remaining handful of customers will now be facing a fourth night without power, so we are throwing everything we can at it and will be back first thing in the morning to get power to them tomorrow.

“There are also a number of customers currently without hot water, as various relays and fuses that are used to heat hot water cylinders were damaged by the impact of the cyclone. With the majority of customers now having their power restored, we have begun the process of rectifying the no hot water issues,” Danny said.

Customers still without power or hot water in Hawke’s Bay are advised to check Unison’s list of outages for details including expected restoration time: www.unison.co.nz/outages. Danny encouraged customers outside of these areas to call 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476) if they are still without power.

He said the Company was very grateful for the patience of the Hawke’s Bay community as it cleaned up the aftermath of Cyclone Cook, and also wanted to acknowledge the efforts of the wider Unison team who have been involved around the clock getting the power back on for customers.

Restoration Progress Sees More Customers Connected 

Saturday 15 April 2017, 4.55pm – Unison crews have restored power to over 14,000 of the 15,000 customers who lost electricity following Cyclone Cook.

“It’s been a big effort by the team so far today and we are hugely appreciative of their endeavours. They will continue to work until night fall to restore as many customers as we can,” Relationship Manager Danny Gough said.

Danny said Unison remains aware that approximately 400 customers around the following areas would likely to be facing another night without power due to the extent of the damage in these areas:

  • Maraetotora Rd
  • Hendley Rd, Huirangi Rd, Te Waka Rd
  • Waikare Coast Road, Matahorua Rd
  • Glengary Road
  • Hawkestone Rd
  • Matapiro Road, Otamauri Rd, Whanawhana Rd
  • Kaharanuki Rd
  • River Road

Danny encouraged customers outside of these areas to call 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476) if they were still without power.

“Our team will continue to restore power to everyone we can today and will be back out at first light to try and get the remaining customers connected tomorrow,” Danny said.

He said the Company was very grateful for the ongoing support and patience of the Hawke’s Bay community and the messages of support as it cleaned up the aftermath of Cyclone Cook.

Crews Still Making Good Progress but Vegetation Damage in Remote Areas is Extensive

Saturday 15 April 2017, 12.27pm – Unison crews have restored power to around 600 customers so far today and expects to restore most customers by 6pm tonight.

The lines company says, however, damage in remote areas is extensive.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “This morning we’ve been focused on assessing the damage via helicopter on the remaining, mainly rural, feeders that are out, deploying crews to fix the damaged areas and re-livening the network when it’s safe to do so.

“There is, however, extensive damage to the network in remote areas, which has become apparent as we’ve flown these lines by helicopter and received feedback from our crews on the ground. The damage has mainly been caused by branches and vegetation that have blown into lines, but we’ve had power lines down and some poles too,” said Danny.

He said Unison has also been repairing damage to customer-owned service lines, which are not part of Unison’s network.

“We’ve decided to fix these customer lines and at no cost to customers given it’s been such an extreme event,” said Danny. “We’re mindful that it’s a long weekend and customers may not be able to get electricians in to repair their service line. We also understand everyone wants to get on and enjoy their weekends and move on from the destruction of Cyclone Cook.”

Customers with hot water issues please bear with us

“We are also aware that some customers are without hot water and we are getting to these jobs as we can, but obviously have to prioritise customers who have been without power since Cyclone Cook hit.

“We are asking that customers only log a no hot water call if they have had their power on for more than 12 hours as it will take some time for you hot water cylinder to reheat,” said Danny.

Unison will provide the next update on restoration progress later this afternoon. 

Unison Crews Out Working to Restore Power to Around 2,000 Customers 

Saturday 15 April 2017, 8.57am – Unison crews have been deployed this morning and are making steady progress towards restoring approximately 2,000 customers without power as a result of Cyclone Cook.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “We managed to restore power to another 800 customers or so last night.

“The crew have headed out again this morning and will be working as quickly as they can today to try and get the remaining customers on.

“We know that it’s been a long time without power for our most affected customers and once again we really appreciate their patience and understanding as we work to fix the widespread damage caused by this storm,” he said.

Helicopters have again headed out this morning to continue assessing the damage.

Unison will provide the next update on restoration progress this afternoon. 

Unison's Advice to Customers Overnight

Friday 14 April 2017, 5.40 pm – Unison has restored electricity to the majority of customers who lost power as a result of severe damage to the network from Cyclone Cook, but around 3,000 are still without power.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “Our crews have made great progress today, and we are really proud of their efforts, especially given the extent of the damage on the network.

“With nightfall approaching, the safety of crews is paramount, so they will be heading back in soon, and will be ready to get out again at first light.

“Around 3,000 customers without power now are unfortunately likely to be without power overnight. We appreciate it’s not ideal and would really like to thank customers for their patience,” says Danny.

Customers in and around the following, mainly rural, areas are likely to be without power overnight:

  • Kahuranaki
  • Maraetotora
  • Middle Rd
  • Raukawa
  • Crownthorpe
  • Sherenden
  • Rissington
  • Patoka
  • Tutira

“Given the extent of the damage, it is possible that we will have further outages and there may be pockets of customers in other areas that are out.

“We are advising customers to call 0800 2 UNISON in the first instance overnight.”

Customers can also refer to Unison’s website for advice on getting through power outages and electrical safety: http://www.unison.co.nz/tell-me-about/safety.

Social media and media updates will resume in the morning. 

Around 3,000 Mainly Rural Customers Advised to Prepare for no Power Overnight and Saturday

Friday 14 April 2017, 2pm – Unison has restored power to approximately 9,000 Hawke’s Bay customers, with around 6,000 customers now without power.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “Our crew are out there working hard to get people back on and we’re hoping to have most customers in urban areas on tonight.

“They’ll continue to work flat out until nightfall. Unfortunately for around 3,000 rural customers, and customers in the areas most affected, it may be a day or two before we can restore power. Extra crews will be brought in to assist us tomorrow and it’s certainly our goal to have everyone back on by tomorrow evening.”

“Due to the sheer extent of the destruction we’ve had to focus efforts where we can make the biggest impact today,” says Danny.

For customers without power tonight, Unison is advising them to prepare plans to get through, make sure they have plenty of food, gas in the BBQ, torches and spare batteries.

“Stay with friends and family if you need to,” says Danny. “We really do appreciate everyone’s patience, as we continue to recover from Cyclone Cook that certainly gave us a good whack.”

Unison will provide a further update on restoration progress later this afternoon.

Power Restored for Another 3,000 Customers

Friday 14 April 2017, 11.30am – Power has been restored to another 3,000 or so customers in Hawke’s Bay since 10am, leaving around 10,000 customers without power in Hawke’s Bay while Unison continues to assess network damage.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “We’re currently undertaking aerial assessment via helicopter and crews are also out there assessing the extent of the damage. The damage is widespread, but at this stage we are aiming to get most customers in urban areas back on by the end of the day.”

Mr Gough said customers in rural areas should make preparations for the possibility of being without power for the next day or two.

“We are advising these customers to prepare for prolonged periods without power following what appears to be extensive damage to the network.

“This is a massive restoration effort and we are focused on repairing and restoring where we can make the biggest impact with the most number of customers.

“We are urging rural customers to make alternative arrangements, talk to their farming communities, and other support organisations to ensure they look after themselves and their stock.”

He said the team was very thankful for everyone’s patience throughout the restoration so far.

“We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s patience, and understanding of the impacts of the weather on our network.”

Due to the large number of calls through Unison’s call centres, customers are still asked check for known outages on its website: http://www.unison.co.nz/outages, follow its Facebook page and Civil Defence’s advice. Unison is also providing regular updates via radio. 

Power Restored for Around 2,000 Customers After Storm Devastation

Friday 14 April 2017, 10am – Solid progress has been made restoring power to the 15,000 customers who were left without power this morning following Cyclone Cook.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said around 2,000 customers have had power restored since this morning and around 13,000 still remain without power.

“Our crews are making good progress out there. We have at least 50 staff from Hawke’s Bay and have brought in extra crews from Rotorua and Taupo to help out.

“We realise it’s a beautiful day now, but Cyclone Cook was very destructive and there’s lots of repairs and clean up to do in its wake.

“We hope to restore the bulk of customers by this evening, but we expect at this stage there will still be some customers off for longer periods, particularly in our rural areas and where we have the most damage.”

Customers advised to keep away from downed lines and not use chainsaws near powerlines

Danny said that there are reports coming through that people are getting close downed lines and some customers are operating chainsaws near powerlines.

“Please people leave it to the experts. Stay away from downed lines and treat them as live at all times.”

Unison is aware of outages affecting customers in and around the following areas:

  • St George’s Road, St Andrews Road and Ada Street
  • Areas of Bayview
  • Bridge Pa
  • Brookvale Road, Arataki Road, Joll Road, Plassey Street, Pufflet Road, Havelock North
  • Ferry Road, Clive
  • Elwood Road
  • Haumoana
  • Maraekakaho Road
  • Omarunui Road, Napier
  • Orchard Road and surrounds in Camberley
  • Areas in and around Park Island, Napier
  • Poukawa
  • Twyford
  • Esk Valley
  • Williams Road, Hastings 

Due to the large number of calls through Unison’s call centre, customers are asked to check for known outages on its website: http://www.unison.co.nz/outages, follow its Facebook page and Civil Defence’s advice.

Power Restoration Continues After Cyclone Cook Slams Hawke’s Bay

Friday 14 April, 7.47am - Around 15,000 customers are without power across Hawke’s Bay after a large number of power lines were damaged by last night’s brutal storm.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said the majority of the outages were caused by trees and debris falling into power lines as well as some fallen power poles and lines.  

“When the worst of the weather passed at around 10 pm last night, we were able to send crews out to start restoring power to major feeders.

“With the weather now clear, we have had crews out at first light to begin clean-up and repairs to the network. However, the damage is severe and fallen trees are blocking roads, so it’s going to take some time to work through it all. Customers should still be prepared for long periods without power.”

Unison has brought extra crews into the region and has helicopters out to assess the full extent of the damage.

It is asking customers to listen to the radio for updates, follow its Facebook page and visit the website for updates: http://www.unison.co.nz/outages as call volumes into its call centre are significant.

Danny says Unison’s biggest concern was safety with some power lines down and reminded customers to remain vigilant, to always treat lines as live, and to be prepared that the power can come on unexpectedly, so should be treated with caution.

“When there is this much damage, our priority is to ensure that CBDs, businesses and industrial customers are connected first, then residential customers and those in rural areas.

“We are really grateful for all the understanding our customers are showing and just want to assure everyone we are doing all we can to get people back on as soon as possible. While Cyclone Cook was short-lived, it was also very destructive as we were warned, and Hawke’s Bay has certainly felt its wrath.”

Danny said the network in Taupo and Rotorua had held up well at this stage.