Electricity Outages – Be Prepared!

Are you prepared to cope without power in an emergency? While electricity networks around New Zealand have become increasingly resilient, wild weather or natural disasters can damage poles, wires, and other electrical equipment that can cut electricity supply for hours, if not days or weeks.

Unison’s priority is to always restore any power outages as quickly as possible, particularly to those areas where critical infrastructure services like hospitals are located. But restricted access, treacherous working conditions, and safety concerns for our team, could delay efforts.

Alternatively, call us on 0800 2 UNISON to report an outage.

We’re All Reliant on Power

When the power is off, we become all too quickly aware of how many of our day-to-day activities rely on electricity. From the basics, like cooking the family meal and heating our homes, to key infrastructure services like petrol pumps, and modern conveniences like automatic doors, the many ways in which electricity supports our daily lives quickly become challenges when the network is down.

We are acutely aware of the stress and disruption an electricity outage can cause to all our customers, so our team swings into action to get power restored as quickly as possible. To help limit the impact on your life, take a moment to consider if you have the basics to cope.

Unison's Advice to Customers

Are you medically dependant on electricity?  

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.

'Get Ready to Get Thru'

Civil Defence have a range of detailed information on how you can be ready to cope in a crisis, and we recommend you take a moment to follow their advice on how to get ready and get through:

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence 

Rotorua (BOP) Civil Defence 

Taupo (Waikato) Civil Defence

  1. Find out what could happen - The most likely hazards for your regions have been researched. Look under Hazards Information for what to do in each type of emergency.
  2. Create a Household Emergency Plan - Check your insurances and make sure your house is quake safe, then make your plan - look on the Get Thru website for a guide.
  3. Complete a Househeld Emergency Checklist - Print off a checklist from the Get Thru website.
  4. Have a Getaway Kit - Look on the Get Thru website for contents.
  5. Practice and maintain your plan with your family - Remember after a disaster, initial help during the first three days may be very limited.

What Can You Do?

Ask yourself these few questions and, if you aren’t prepared, make it a priority to get ready to get through.

Can I keep my family warm and fed?
Keeping the gas bottle on your BBQ full will ensure you always have a cooking source in a power outage. Some fireplaces are also designed to be used as a hot plate, which provides another way to boil water or heat food. Don’t forget to have spare food for your pets in your emergency kit. If you rely on electricity for heating, consider getting a portable gas heater with a full gas bottle as a back-up heat source. Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets handy, wear extra clothing, and take all steps to conserve heat in your home by closing doors, windows and curtains, and using towels to block any drafts.

Do I have a source of light for night time?
The best option is an all-weather torch with plenty of spare batteries. Candles are an option, but greatly increase the risk of fire, and with emergency services usually fully committed to life-saving operations during a crisis, it’s a risk best avoided.

How will I keep in touch with important news updates?
A battery-operated or wind-up radio is the best way to keep informed in the early stages of a crisis. Depending on the crisis, even radio networks can be affected, which makes it all the more important to have an emergency plan and kit at hand. Phone networks and cell towers can also be affected, so you may not be able to use your phone to call, text or check social media until these services are restored. Having a car charger for your phone is also a handy way to boost your battery while the electricity is out, plus you can listen to your radio if you don’t have one already.

Unison Uses All Available Mediums to Give You Updates

As soon as we become aware of a major network outage, we will supply regular updates to media (including radio, TV, print and web), Civil Defence, emergency services, and local government. We use Facebook and Twitter to get updates out regularly, as well as provide major updates via our website. Depending on the situation, these channels may or may not be available to everyone, but please trust that we know the importance of regular, accurate updates and have a team dedicated to keeping you informed during all power outages.

During power outages, Unison regularly advises the following safety precautions:
  • Check for fallen or damaged electricity lines.
    Never touch wires or lines lying on the ground, over fences, 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.

  • Turn off the power at the main switch
    if you suspect any low power or a damaged supply to your home. If the power goes out, turn off electrical appliances, but leave one light on to indicate when the electricity supply is restored.


Currently without power?

Call us on 0800 2 UNISON to report an outage

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