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Unison says Be Prepared as Cyclone Gabrielle makes its way south

Unison Networks is asking customers to prepare for heavy rainfall, winds and potential power cuts as Cyclone Gabrielle passes over its network regions in the coming days.

Severe weather warnings are in place for wind and rain across Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua and Taupo.

Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.  

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “Our advice to customers is to be prepared.  The impact of Cyclone Gabrielle could also be greater due to ground already being sodden from recent extreme rainfall, increasing the potential for flooding, trees falling and damage to powerlines.”

Unison has extra crews on stand-by in preparation, but is also urging customers to ensure they are prepared for potentially long periods without power.

“As part of your household emergency kit, make sure you have a battery-operated radio and alternative forms of lighting in a handy place with batteries, a power bank for charging and non-perishable food on hand.” says Mr Gough.

Mr Gough said outdoor objects such furniture, trampolines and other loose items should be securely fixed to the ground to help keep people safe and prevent damage to property, powerlines and powerboxes. 

He said people should visit www.unison.co.nz/outages in the first instance to find out about outages across the network or to report an outage as wait times for phone calls could be lengthy given the severity and widespread impact of the weather.  People can still use the 0800 2 UNISON (0800 286 476) number, but should be prepared for long waits over the coming days.  

“Never touch wires or lines lying on the ground, hanging from poles, or objects such as trees that may be touching them. Treat downed lines as live and stay clear of them at all times.”

For updates on the storm, follow MetService New Zealand, and heed the advice of your local authority and Civil Defence.

Should the power go out, Unison also advises the following safety precautions:

  • If you are medically dependent, in the event of a power outage, activate your back-up plan, or call 111 if you are feeling unwell or have no alternative support plans in place.  Please ensure you have registered yourself as medically dependant with your electricity retailer - their contact number can be found on your power bill.
  • 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 may take a number of hours to be reconnected, so make sure you have your household emergency kit ready.
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