Power restored to more than 70 per cent of Napier
Unison has made significant progress reconnecting customers in Hawke’s Bay following the completion of the North-Tie line from Hastings to Napier.
Overnight another 5,100 consumers in Hawke’s Bay were reconnected. Unison has now restored power to 73% of homes in Napier and 95% in Hastings. As of this morning just over 10,300 consumers remain without power in the region – 8,600 in Napier and 1,700 in Hastings.
Restoration of rural outlying areas will take longer, in some cases a number of weeks due to the significant damage Cyclone Gabrielle has caused on its overhead network. Unison has completed an initial assessment of the backbone of its rural network by helicopter.
Unison’s Incident Controller, Jason Larkin, says “We’ve been able to make good progress after working with Transpower to put in place an emergency solution to bypass Transpower’s damaged Redclyffe substation and reliven the Whakatu substation.”
“Our crews have worked extremely hard over the weekend to rebuild a key river crossing that would normally take three months to complete. I am tremendously proud of their efforts as this was a huge challenge for everyone involved. Now it’s completed, we have a second line from Hastings to Napier increasing the amount of electricity supplying Napier. Two emergency supplies into Redclyffe substation which is crucial for continuing restoration of Napier will be completed early this week, enabling Unison to continue to restore power to more areas of Napier, and begin to return supply to outlying areas.”
“We have now identified key sites for repair to specific rural communities first and foremost and are deploying crews to these sites where access permits. We will be throwing all our resources at this mammoth repair as well as using all the options available to restore power as quickly as possible, such as connecting generators at our rural substations that we are unable to supply due to significant network damage.”
“Our crews, contractors and those of Transpower are working long hours to restore power as quickly as possible, with many of them also affected by the cyclone damage. We want to thank the community for their patience and support, for giving our crews space to get on with their jobs, and for the cooperation in reducing power use when they are reconnected,” says Mr Larkin.
Unison has restored power to more than 65,800 customers since Cyclone Gabrielle hit on Monday night. Its Cyclone Gabrielle Hawke’s Bay restoration map gives an up-to-date picture of where power has now been restored and areas it plans to restore next, which can be viewed on its website and Facebook page.
Some important key messages for the community are as follows:
- Conserve Power: Due to a limited supply of power coming in to the region at this time, we ask the public to please conserve power where possible to support restoration efforts.
- Please respect and stay clear of Unison crews as they work hard to repair sections of the power network: Our crews, contractors and those of Transpower are working long hours in challenging and dangerous conditions to restore power as quickly as possible. Many of them have also been impacted personally by Cyclone Gabrielle at home. Please keep your distance from, and respect our crews as they focus on completing repairs on the network.
- Given widespread impact and regional loss of supply from Transpower, we are advising customers to disregard estimated restoration times for outages on our website, as these are based on normal working conditions. Please check the Cyclone Gabrielle Hawke’s Bay Restoration Map on our website of Facebook page for up-to-date information on where power has been restored and areas we plan to restore next. Outages (unison.co.nz)
- For our business community: We understand the concerns of our business community and local industries in relation to power supply. Given the limited supply available form Transpower into the region and the unprecedented situation facing our communities we are working closely with Transpower and Civil Defence to allocate the available supply to restore power to critical community infrastructure and households. At this difficult time we must prioritise lives ahead of livelihoods. As more supply is made available from Transpower we will continue this restoration process which will begin to include some commercial and industrial areas. We thank all our customers for the understanding patience and support we continue to receive.
- During power outages, Unison regularly advises the following safety precautions:
- Check for fallen or damaged electricity lines and treat lines as live at all times. Never touch wires or lines lying on the ground, hanging from poles, or objects such as tree branches that may be touching them. Fallen lines or wires may still be carrying an electrical current and could shock, injure or even kill if touched. Unison is urging anyone who sees a power line down to report these to www.unison.co.nz/outages
- Turn off the power at the main switch if you suspect any electrical damage in your home. If the power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances to prevent possible damage by a power surge when the electricity supply is restored.
- When the electricity network is damaged, it might take some time to get reconnected, so make sure you have a battery-operated radio, a torch, spare batteries, and a full gas bottle for your BBQ as part of your emergency kit.
- Medically dependant customers are advised to prepare for the likelihood of no power and make alternative arrangements in advance.