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Unison asks connected Hawke’s Bay customers to conserve power as it continues restoration efforts

Unison is asking reconnected customers in Hawke’s Bay to conserve power use as it continues restoration efforts. This is due to limited power supply coming into the region from Transpower’s damaged Redclyffe substation.

Unison has now restored power to 39,400 customers since Cyclone Gabrielle hit on Monday night, cutting power to around 77,000 homes across Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua. Most of Rotorua and Taupo have now had power restored with 44 households remaining.

There are still 37,548 homes still without power in Hawke’s Bay, 31,527 of these are from Napier which has been affected by a loss of supply from Transpower’s Redclyffe substation, which feeds most of Napier and parts of Hastings.

Unison's Relationship Manager, Danny Gough says, “Although we’ve managed to restore power to almost all of Rotorua and Taupo, Hawke’s Bay continues to be challenging to limited regional supply from Transpower.

“We’re asking all Hawke’s Bay customers now reconnected to the network to please conserve power where possible. We can’t stress this enough as a genuine plea for people to look at every opportunity to save power from turning off air-conditioning and devices on standby, to being mindful with the lights and any high consumption devices. This will help to manage and distribute the limited supply we do have coming into the region from Transpower,” says Mr Gough.

Yesterday Unison was able to provide power to some key locations in central Napier. It is now working with Transpower on an emergency solution to bypass Redclyffe through to Transpower’s Whakatu substation. This will enable remaining parts of Hastings urban areas to be restored and begin the process of restoring parts of Napier.

However, to restore supply to all parts of Napier, Transpower must complete repairs to its damaged Redclyffe substation, which it is in the process of planning.

“We understand our business community and local industries are also concerned about the limited electricity supply coming into the region. I want to assure them and everyone else that whilst this is an unprecedented situation, we are doing all we can to restore households and businesses as quickly as possible.”

“We are working closely with Transpower and Civil Defence to allocate the available supply to restore power to critical community infrastructure and households, and 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 their understanding and patience, and for the support we continue to receive,” says Mr Gough.

Given widespread impact and regional loss of supply from Transpower, please disregard estimated times for power to be restored on the outages page on our website. The estimated restoration times are based on normal working conditions and not unprecedented cyclone damage.

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).

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 call 0800 2 Unison.
  • 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.
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