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Unison urges Hawke’s Bay residents to be prepared for outages

Unison urges households in Hawke’s Bay that have power, to conserve electricity and be prepared for further outages while Hawke’s Bay remains on limited supply from Transpower.

Unison and Transpower have taken emergency measures to restore power as quickly as possible, while work to reinstate Transpower’s permanent supply to the region continues.  Restoring normal supply could take several weeks.

In the interim, households and businesses in the region may experience occasional power outages, which could be as short as 5-10 minutes but may last longer and may be more frequent at peak times. Unison encourages households and businesses to be prepared for these intermittent outages, and to conserve power wherever possible until supply is fully restored.    

Unison’s Incident Controller, Jason Larkin says, “We’re acutely aware of the impact the loss of electricity has on all our communities and the livelihoods of businesses.

“Over the next few weeks we are asking the public to be mindful of their power use – we’re not asking businesses to curb their operations, but please think before you flick the switch and turn things off if you’re not using them.  Please also prepare for unplanned outages as our crews work hard alongside Transpower to restore a secure supply to the region.

“We are incredibly thankful to our customers for their continued cooperation, understanding and support as our teams and crews work tirelessly to restore power and supply as quickly as possible.”

As of today, there are still 3,230 customers without power in Hawke’s Bay, mostly in outlying rural areas. There are small pockets still without power in urban areas due to isolated flood damaged assets or faults, and Unison is repairing these street by street. With most of urban Hawke’s Bay restored, Unison’s rural restoration plans are in full swing.

Unison has undertaken an aerial assessment of the rural network to identify key sites for repair, and is working with rural communities to understand their needs and explore alternative ways to restore power while repairs are made.

This week Unison has visited communities in Waihau, Puketapu, Patoka, Puketitiri, Te Haroto, and will be visiting Glengarry, Te Pohue, Tutira and Tangoio as soon as access and weather allow.

“We are throwing all our resources at this mammoth repair and using all options available to restore power as quickly as possible,” says Mr Larkin.

“This week we have connected Puketapu and Whirinaki; and today we’ve transported a generator to Patoka, following a herculean effort to move the generator along forestry tracks and across a ford at the Tutaekuri river. With the generator in place, our teams will be working to progressively restore power to the community from tomorrow.”

In semi-rural Pakowhai and Meeanee, which were heavily impacted by flooding, crews continue to face access issues and it maybe several weeks before these areas can be assessed and repaired. 

A power restoration map has been developed to capture Unison’s plans to restore power to its rural communities and is available at www.unison.co.nz/outages
Regular progess and outage updates are available on Unison’s Facebook page.

Some important key messages for the community are as follows:

Occasional outages: With Unison and Transpower having taken emergency measures to restore power as quickly as possible, customers may experience occasional outages over the next few weeks while work to reinstate Transpower’s permanent supply to the region continues. These could be as short as 5-10 minutes but may last longer, and may be more frequent at peak times. Unison urges 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: 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.
Hotwater: We are aware some customers are having issues with hot water as we’re repairing and reconfiguring our network across Hawke’s Bay.
For those in Hastings: if you have power, you should have hot water. If this is not the case, please report this at www.unison.co.nz/outages. It may take several weeks to resolve your issue as Unison focuses efforts on restoring power to as many customers as quickly as possible. For customers who wish to resolve their issues sooner, we advise them to speak to an electrician in the first instance and apologise for this inconvenience.
For those in Napier: Due to the damage at Transpower’s Redclyffe substation, there is a ripple control plant that is out of service. We are working very hard and trying various ways to send a signal through to Napier, but it is very likely that there is not enough strength in this signal to reach all areas. Therefore, we’re asking customers without hot water in Napier to please bear with us. Our immediate focus is to restore power to customers without it, after which we will turn our focus to streamlining hot water across the network.
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.  
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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