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Cyclone gabrielle power restoration

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Many properties in Hawke’s Bay have been extensively damaged by flooding from Cyclone Gabrielle, which has been devastating for those affected. While many properties are being red or yellow stickered and may not be able to be repaired, there is a risk that the electrical installation at other properties may have been damaged and could be unsafe, due to the flooding. There are a number of steps that must be taken before these properties can be reconnected to the network to prevent the risk of harm from electricity or damage to property, such as an electrical fire.

  • If a property has received a red sticker due to flooding damage, Unison cannot reconnect the property and recommend you request a disconnection. Please read the frequently asked question My property has been red-stickered – what should I do? in the right-hand column.
    The owner should also contact their insurer in the first instance and notify their electricity retailer to ensure they know the property is without power.
  • Before a property can be reconnected, Unison requires an electrical safety certificate be prepared by the inspector, which confirms the customer’s installation to be electrically safe to liven.
  • If your property is flood damaged and has not been red stickered, or there is evidence of damage to the electrical installation at the property including the meter box, and the service line connecting the property to the network, an electrical inspection is required before the property can be reconnected to the network. Unison (with the help of agreed contractors) is arranging for these inspections to be carried out at no cost to the property owner. Please report the fault on our website at www.unison.co.nz/outages or call 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476). We will then contact you to make arrangements for an electrical inspection to be carried out.

My property is damaged so I am not there, how will Unison contact me about inspection or reconnection?

If we have been to your property to carry out work, we will leave a calling card with a phone number to call for further details. Please also ensure your contact details are up to date with your electricity retailer.

Before your property is reconnected, you must:

Ensure all appliances are turned off.
Ensure any generators that have been connected to the electrical installation at the property, such as at the meter box or the distribution board, have been disconnected.
Contact Unison for advice if you have any doubts or concerns about your electrical installation or generator (0800 2 UNISON). We will determine if an electrician or electrical inspector is required and will arrange for them to visit.

As our teams work hard to restore power as quickly as possible to all customers in Hawke’s Bay, we are aware there could be damaged Unison materials such as poles or wires remaining on properties we have reconnected. We will clear these sites as soon as crews are available. If you have concerns about the collection of any Unison materials or assets on or near your property, please let us know by calling 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476).

We do not need power to our property for the time being but will want to reconnect in future?

Let your retailer know that you want to temporarily disconnect from the network. When you are ready to reconnect contact your retailer again however, if the property has been flood damaged it will need an electrical inspection.

What if we don’t want our properties reconnected?

That’s ok. send us a request using an online form Permanent Disconnect at unison.co.nz. If, however, you do want to reconnect your property to the network in the future you will need to apply for a new connection.

Unison will not be charging its daily line charges to customers for the period they were without power for longer than 24 hours following Cyclone Gabrielle, which caused extensive damage to its network.

How do I get my daily line charges waived?
You do not need to do anything. Unison will pass this information onto your electricity provider directly.

How do I know if I have not been charged the daily line charge?
This will be outlined on your bill, however, the way it is shown will vary depending on your electricity retailer, who you will need to contact with any questions.

How does my billing work?
You receive a bill directly from your electricity retailer, usually monthly. Your retailer’s bill will contain charges that include all their costs associated with supplying electricity including a component reflecting Unison’s daily fixed and variable lines charges.

When can I expect to see this information on my bill?
We expect customers to start seeing this information appear on their bill after the current billing cycle from their electricity retailer, so will likely start from April onwards.

Who do I contact if I have a query about the daily line charge?
Please contact your electricity retailer to query your bill. The information may not show on your bill until after the current billing cycle.

Will I not be charged the daily line charges for as long as I am without power?
Yes – you will not be charged for every day where you were without power for longer than 24 hours.

What should I do if my property has been red stickered?

We understand this is likely an incredibly difficult time for you, and that you may still be assessing the impact of the damage on your property. Unison wants to help make things a little easier and safer when it comes to managing power at your property.

If it could be sometime before you are ready to use power at this property, we recommend you request to permanently disconnect your property using the following link and complete the online request form. Click here to request permanent disconnection

We also recommend that you contact your insurer to let them know the property has been red-stickered, and you notify your energy retailer (and your electrician, if appropriate) that you’ve submitted a permanent disconnection request.

Why should I permanently disconnect my property?

Permanent disconnection will help keep everyone safe who works on repairing or re-building your property and will ensure you don’t pay any charges for electricity while you are not able to use it.

Is there a charge for disconnection?

No, we will not apply any charges for permanent disconnection requests for properties damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle (Normally $250).

What happens after I submit a disconnection request?

Once the permanent disconnection request is received and processed, a Unison contractor will schedule in a time to visit your property and complete the necessary work. This may include removal of some Unison electrical assets and ensuring any customer owned service cables are safe. You do not need to be at home when this happens, and we will let you know when the job has been completed.

What do I do if I want to reconnect?

If at any time you would like power reconnected to this property, you or your electrician can submit a request for a new connection with Unison. This can be done on our website at getting a new connection or alteration.

Is there a charge for reconnection?

There will be no charge for the reconnection if it is the same as the disconnection, for example – same supply location, connection point, connection type, and same connection capacity.

Fees may apply for a new or different type of reconnection but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You can find more information at getting a new connection or alteration.

How long will it take to reconnect my property once I am ready?

Please allow up to six weeks for a planner to assess your application and then up to a further 45 working days for the work to be undertaken once approved.

Where do I find more information on different types or reconnections?

You can find more information at getting a new connection or alteration.

These are the lines that connect dwellings, building or equipment (such as a pump) owned by the customer, to the electricity network.

  • These need to be repaired before electricity supply can be restored to customers.
  • While our focus is on repairing and rebuilding main distribution lines to restore as many customers as possible, we will make repairs to service lines at the same time if the job is relatively straightforward and can be done as part of our network repair work.
  • Where there is more severe damage to customer service lines, options will be discussed with customers. Where an agreed repair is needed, we will schedule a dedicated service team to do the repair as soon as we are able.
  • Unison does not charge for repairs that are simple and can be done immediately. However, when repairs are not straightforward and require design and construction, we will discuss the work to be done and any costs with the customer first.

Customers may experience occasional outages over the coming weeks, while we work to restore a normal configuration and level of security and resilience on our network. These could be as short as 5-10 minutes but may last longer and may be more frequent at peak times. Unison asks customers to be prepared, and to make sure their contact details are up to date with retailers, so they can receive planned outage notifications.