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Unison crews work to progressively restore power to regions

Unison crews are making progress to restore power to customers where possible in Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua following widespread damage to the network caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Power has been restored to most of Rotorua and Taupo townships where more than 9,000 households were initially without power following the destruction of Gabrielle yesterday morning. This number is now down to 51 households in Rotorua and 270 households in Taupo still without power, mostly due to access issues or more complex damage to the network.

Unison’s Hawke’s Bay network has suffered most from Cyclone Gabrielle with a loss of supply from Transpower’s national grid following flooding at its Redclyffe substation which feeds most of Napier and parts of Hastings. Unison’s rural network has been severely affected by the magnitude of the Cyclone and access remain a major challenge for crews trying to repair the extensive damage to the network.

Transpower has now been able to access the flooded Redclyffe substation to begin assessing the extent of the damage and identify the repairs needed to restore transmission supply to the region. Unison is continuing to work closely with Transpower on the development of a proactive recovery plan that explores all options and alternatives for reconnecting customers as quickly as possible.

In Hastings, 5,000 households have been restored to the network today with 9,900 still without power. In Napier this number is still high, with close to 32,000 still without power due to limited supply from Transpower’s national grid.

Unison Relationship Manager Danny Gough says, “It’s great that power has been restored to much of Rotorua and Taupo. We do however face ongoing challenges in the Hawke’s Bay with a number of access issues due to slips, flooding and damaged infrastructure.”

“While good progress has been made in large parts of Hastings and Havelock North, outages continue in other areas, especially in Napier due to limited supply from Transpower’s national grid.

“Communities should be prepared to be without power for an extended period. I want to reassure our customers that Unison is working very closely with Transpower NZ to develop a restoration plan. This includes exploring all alternatives to reconnecting customers as quickly as possible,” says Mr Gough.

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.
  • Remember that if 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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