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Unison restores power to thousands in urban Napier

Good progress has been made restoring power to thousands of customers in urban parts of Napier and outlying parts of Hastings following intense collaborative efforts between Unison and Transpower NZ after Cyclone Gabrielle hit Hawke’s Bay late on Monday night.

Over the last 24 hours Unison has restored power to more than 6,300 consumers in Hawke’s Bay – nearly 6,000 in Napier and over 400 in Hastings.  As of this evening 27,000 consumers remain without power in Hawke’s Bay – approximately 22,500 in Napier and 4,200 in Hastings.

Unison and Transpower worked together to put in place an emergency solution to bypass Transpower' damaged Redclyffe substation and reliven the Whakatu substation, which  enabled power to be supplied to parts of Napier City and suburbs last night.

Unison’s Incident Controller, Jason Larkin, says “Our crews have been working incredibly hard, taking extraordinary measures to undertake very challenging repairs to critical lines between Whakatu and Napier that had been damaged at the river crossing at Awatoto.

“Getting the power back on for parts of Napier after what has been a very challenging week for so many of our communities was a significant moment for us this week. While we still have some way to go to repair the widespread damage across our network and reconnect all our customers, it is great progress

“We’ve also bought in some more generators as a short-term solution to power critical sites in Napier, such as supermarkets and fuel stations, while repairs take place.”

“We recognise how difficult this week has been for everyone and want to thank our communities for their patience and support, and cooperation in reducing power use by those who are connected. As we further progress work on our network and Transpower begins to restore supply to Redclyffe, we will provide more detailed information around expected time of restoration for specific areas.”

“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 flooding. Please stay clear and give them space so they can get on with their jobs quickly and safely.”

“Almost all of Rotorua and Taupo have now had their power restored, so I want to thank our crews who have done an amazing job in those areas while working in tough conditions.” says Mr Larkin.

Unison has restored power to more than 50,000 customers since Cyclone Gabrielle hit on Monday night, with power being restored to almost all customers in Taupō  and Rotorua.

Some important key messages for the community are as follows:

  • Conserve Power: Due to a limited supply of power coming in to the region as 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 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.
    • 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 their understanding and patience, and the 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.

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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