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Unison Restores Power to SH5 Communities

Generation to these isolated communities is a significant achievement for Unison crews after overcoming major access challenges and undertaking complex repairs to reconnect households in these isolated areas. 

Unison’s Incident Controller and GM for Commercial Jason Larkin says, “We understand how hard it has been for these communities to be without power for such a long time.

“Once again our crews have faced unique and significant challenges given the remote location and limited access to the site, along with extensive damage our network. In this instance a generator from the Southern Island had to be transported to the site via Taupō.

“We are as committed today as ever to throwing all our resources at this challenging response, pulling every stop and thinking outside the square to reconnect and restore power for these customers as quickly as possible.”

Unison continues to meet with rural communities to explore possible solutions, including generation, and develop restoration plans that meet their needs. Unison met with communities from South Puketapu, Te Pohue and Te Haroto yesterday, and will meet with Esk Valley community members tomorrow afternoon. Work is underway to restore Upper Dartmoor, with Unison hoping to have most households there connected from this evening. Restoration plans and details of rural community meetings can be found at www.unison.co.nz

As at 4pm today, Unison is providing generation to 781 households that are unable to be reconnected to the network due to extensive cyclone damage, to meet their essential welfare needs.

Unison is also working with owners of flood damaged properties that have not been red stickered, to electrically inspect and reconnect these when safe to do so. 

“This is a huge task in itself, with around one thousand known flood damaged properties. Crews working with electrical contractors are going street by street, door to door,” says Mr Larkin.

Unison continues working to restore power in hard hit urban areas, including Awatoto where its network was heavily damaged.

“Given the flood damage and contamination in areas like Awatoto, work to safely inspect, clean, and repair our substation and network assets will take some time,” says Mr Larkin. 

“We’re intensely aware of the impact having no or limited power has on the livelihoods of businesses. We’re engaging with the local business community and councils and are poised to undertake the necessary inspections, decontamination and repair of our distribution assets and substation as soon as environmental testing confirms we can safely undertake this work

“Every reconnection is another step closer to achieving 100% restoration for Hawke’s Bay. I want to reiterate just how grateful and thankful we are to our communities for their continued patience and support. Our teams and crews remain focused and are working at pace to get the lights fully on.”

As at 4.00pm today, 1,171 customers power remain without power in the region, mostly in isolated rural areas.

Some important key messages for the community are as follows:

  • For customers still without power who reside in an area that is now reconnected to Unison’s network (areas coloured green on Unison’s online restoration map), please check if there are lights on in your meter box.  If not, then you do not have power to your property. Please log a fault at www.unison.co.nz/outages. This will ensure Unison is aware of the issue and can make arrangements to assess and, where possible, restore power. We encourage customers to check in on any neighbours, whānau or friends who may still be without power and pass on this message.
  • As restoration is progressed, please assume all lines and assets are live. Due to flooding, ground contours have changed in many areas. Unison urges all contractors, farmers, orchardists, anyone working around electricity lines or using plant and machinery (eg, diggers tip trucks, forklifts, etc) as part of the cleanup, to be aware and stay safe around electricity. Treat all lines as live, know what’s below, look up and live, and contact Unison for cable location services and safety permits.
  • Occasional outages to be expected over the coming weeks:
  • Customers may experience occasional outages over the next few weeks. These could be as short as 5-10 minutes but may last longer and may be more frequent at peak times. We urge customers to be prepared – guidance on preparation for outages can be found on Unison’s website at: Electricity outages - be prepared (unison.co.nz)


  • Conserve power where possible:
  • We ask customers with power, to please conserve it while Hawke’s Bay is on limited supply. Switch off lights when they’re not in use, air dry laundry, if possible, unplug devices if they’re not charging, turn appliances off at the wall when you’re not using them, use a microwave or air-fryer to heat food instead of the oven, and only run the washing machine with a full load.


  • Hot water: All customers who reside in an area that is now reconnected to Unison’s network (areas coloured green on Unison’s online restoration map) should have their hot water back on. If a customer in these areas has no hot water, they should log a fault at www.unison.co.nz/outages. Customers in generated areas (areas coloured orange on Unison’s online restoration map) may have no or limited hot water, and we ask that they please bear with us while we work to get them fully reconnected.
  • Please respect and stay clear of Unison crews as they work
  • Unison crews are working 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 and safely as possible. Many of them have also been impacted personally by Cyclone Gabrielle. Please keep your distance, and respect crews as they focus on completing repairs. 


  • 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.

Outages should be reported at www.unison.co.nz/outages in the first instance, as we are experiencing high call volumes through our call centre, which can still be used for those who do not have access to the internet - 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476).

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