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Power restored to most of urban Napier

Unison has restored power to most of urban Napier today, connecting power into Taradale. As of today, less than 5,000 consumers remain without power in the Hawke’s Bay region following damage to the network caused by Cyclone Gabrielle last week.

Most of urban Napier has now been reconnected after completing work to partially restore supply from Transpower’s damaged Redclyffe substation. Unison crews have been out this afternoon assessing the damage in the suburb of Te Awa, where network assets were heavily impacted by flooding, and aim to get Te Awa reconnected by Thursday.

Unison’s Incident Controller, Jason Larkin says, “We are making some headway, but we know the job is not done."

“We’re acutely aware of the impact the loss of electricity has on all our communities and the livelihoods of businesses. We’re committed to supporting Hawke’s Bay, and particularly our more rural and vulnerable communities, by restoring power or providing alternative solutions as soon as we can.”

In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, Unison prioritised repairing and restoring areas of its network that were undamaged or still accessible to get as many customers and households' power restored as quickly as possible. With that work progressing, Unison has undertaken an initial assessment of the backbone of its rural network by helicopter, identifying key sites to repair to reconnect rural communities, and deploying crews to these sites where access permits.

“We will be throwing all our resources at this mammoth repair, and using all options available to restore power as quickly as possible, such as connecting generators at our rural substations, and redeploying crews from our Unison depots in other regions to help.”

“There is still a lot of challenging work in front of us as we look at restoration of rural outlying areas, which in some cases may take a number of weeks due to the significant damage caused on our overhead network.”

“We are reaching out to rural communities and customers to understand their needs, and involve them in the planning and delivery of the recovery and restoration of supply. Today we visited the Puketapu community and were able to restore supply this afternoon using a generator, and we plan to connect a generator in Whirinaki tomorrow.”

“We will be sharing this plan and our progress over the coming days to help customers understand when they might expect restoration. We remain thankful to our customers for their continued patience and support as our teams and crews work around the clock to restore power to customers as quickly as possible.” says Mr Larkin.

Unison has restored power to nearly 70,000 customers since Cyclone Gabrielle hit last Monday night. The Cyclone Gabrielle Hawke’s Bay restoration map gives an up-to-date picture of where power has now been restored and areas planned to restore next, which can be viewed on their website and Facebook page.

Some important key messages for the community are as follows:

  • Hot water: Some customers may have issues with hot water as we repair, streamline and reconfigure our network.
    • For those in Hastings: if you have power, you should have hot water. If this is not the case, please report this at www.unison.co.nz/outages
    • For those in Napier: due to the damage at Transpower NZ’s Redclyffe substation, there is a ripple control plant that is out of service. We’re asking customers without hot water in Napier to please bear with us. Our immediate focus is to restore power to the rest of urban Napier, after which we will turn our focus to streamlining hot water across the network.
  • Brief outages: As we continue to work hard to restore power to as many customers in Napier on what is currently a limited supply, customers may experience brief outages while we reconfigure our Hastings and Napier network. These could be as short as 5-10 minutes but in some cases may last longer and may be more frequent at peak times.
  • 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.  
  • 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.
To report an outage visit www.unison.co.nz/outages in the first instance as it is experiencing high call volumes through its call centre, which can still be used for those who do not have access to the internet - 0800 2 UNISON (0800 286 476).
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