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Unison Restores Vital Power Link between Hastings and Napier

The North-Tie power line, which is a power supply that links Hastings to Napier, will be restored Sunday evening meaning power can be supplied to more areas of Napier from Monday morning.

With parts of Napier now being supplied by a line from Whakatu, Unison’s focus has been reinstating the North-Tie to provide a second line to bring electricity from Hastings to Napier by repairing the river crossing that was destroyed by flooding.

Unison’s Incident Controller, Jason Larkin, says “This was a very complex repair that was technically difficult and carried a degree of risk for those involved. Our crews worked in very challenging conditions, and with time of the essence, a high level of innovation was required to complete the work.”

“Firstly, it involved getting into the rivers in a very managed way to remove fallen poles and lines. We then stood up three large river crossing structures using trucks, cranes and a Black Hawk helicopter that lifted them into place.”

“Cranes then lifted crews above the river so that conductors could be attached to those poles, before a helicopter carried new lines between each pole for connection.”

“I am so proud of what our team has achieved. A job of this size and scale would normally take three months from design to completion, but it was done in one weekend.”

“I understand how challenging this week has been for many of our communities and want to assure them that we will continue working around the clock until power is restored to everyone. For Napier residents this will mean most households and businesses will have power over the next few days. For outlying areas this will take longer, in some cases some weeks due to the significant damage Cyclone Gabrielle has caused on our overhead network. We will be throwing all our resources at this mammoth repair as well as using all the options available, such as generators at our rural substations that we are unable to supply until repairs are completed.”

“Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle and I want to thank everyone for their continued patience and support,” says Mr Larkin.

As at 5pm, Sunday 19 February there are still 15,500 homes without power in Hawke’s Bay – 13,500 homes in Napier and less than 2,000 in Hastings.

This means 57% of homes have been connected in Napier and 94% in Hastings

Some important key messages for the community are as follows:

  • Conserve Power: Due to a limited supply of power coming into 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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