Rare failure causes power outage

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About 400 Tamahere households were hit by a power outage just on dinner time last night with around 130 without power for up to six hours.

Waipa Networks said the lengthy power outage was caused by a failure of isolation equipment in a cabinet in Birchwood Lane.

The Networks customer service manager Kerry Watson said the failure of the particular piece of equipment was uncommon and an explanation was being sought from its supplier.

Residents experienced outages ranging from around one and a half to six hours from 5.50pm and Watson said those who were without power for the longest were those directly served by the Birchwood Lane cabinet. Once the fault was isolated power to other customers affected could be restored.

Watson said the failed equipment had been in place for eight or nine years and it was not typical for it to fail. The entire cabinet had been replaced and the failed equipment was being sent to the supplier for investigation of the breakdown, he said.

The lengthy outage has again raised questions over the security of supply to Tamahere with many locals troubled by what seems to be frequent outages.

At Tamahere Forum’s request Watson has promised to supply detail on the faults and outages in Tamahere compared to other areas of the Waipa Networks supply area. (This will be posted in an upcoming post. Ed)

However, he could say immediately that the high number of trees in the area “certainly causes an issue.”

Tree owners are required to keep their trees clear of lines with the 11,000 volt lines having an exclusion circle around them measuring 1.6m in radius.

“We talk to tree owners about getting their trees trimmed in the [exclusion] circle but often it’s debris from outside the circle that drops on the lines,” Watson said.

A compounding issue in a rural area is that there is little opportunity to redirect supply from an alternative source when outages happen as occurs in towns and cities, he said.

Telephoned inquiries to the faults line last night provided no explanation of the cause of the outage or how long it would interrupt power.

Queried about a lack of explanation regarding outages, including last night’s, Watson said the company had recently added a section to its website, which gives information about current faults and network upgrades. It was also considering a Facebook page to provide information though it was unlikely to carry detail on faults because the page couldn’t be staffed 24/7.

Watson said a media release was being prepared today about last night’s outage.

One thought on “Rare failure causes power outage

  • May 5, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    Good stuff, Tamahere Forum. Keep at it. (After travelling in Thailand and returning to New Zealand have really noticed how dire reporting is in this country. Three cheers for the Forum!)

    Reply

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