Network extensively damaged by Cyclone
As we enter day three of Cyclone Gabrielle, Top Energy Chief Executive is aware of the impact of the storm on the community and the lines mechanics and vegetation teams working to restore power.
“Our biggest issue is access to rural and remote areas which have been cut off by flooding and fallen trees. We know people are having a hard time and this storm is testing their resilience.”
Mr Shaw says most of the rural network has been damaged and these communities are cut off, the majority of supplies to towns are still on.
Yesterday we had a team walk three hours with their equipment to restore the power, only to have it go off again when a tree further down the line damaged the network. This is the situation we are dealing with right now.
“Never before have we dealt with such a fluid and dynamic range of outages on our network in such a short period of time. The number of outages we are dealing with fluctuates as the winds change – we went from 14k,000 homes off last night to under 5,000 during the day yesterday then to rise again overnight to 14,000 this morning.
“We are receiving multiple reports of lines down, fallen trees and damaged private service lines. We are grateful for the patience and determination shown by our community but there is some hard work ahead and the repair job will not be a quick one.”
Mr Shaw says fatigue of staff is a concern and additional support crews from Dannevirke electricity distribution company Scanpower and Northpower Central Region have been stranded south of Whangarei due to the flooding.
“Conditions allowing, we hope to have them working in the field tomorrow morning which will help take some of the pressure off our team.”
“In the coming days, our focus will be on repairing the backbone of the network to get as many people back on as soon as possible. But right now we are still dealing with gaining access to our damaged parts of the network.”
The company is working closely with Northland Civil Defence and other essential service agencies responding under the State of Emergency. Any customers across Northland with welfare concerns should contact Civil Defence directly.
Mr Shaw asks that people check the outage centre on the Top Energy website or download the Top Energy outage app, or log a call with 0800 867 363.
“We would like to remind everyone of the importance of staying well clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment, and to treat them as live at all times.”
“People using medical equipment that relies on electricity should let their retailer know if they are without power. If there is an immediate health threat, they should contact their health provider or call 111.”
For more information – Philippa White 021 2418740