Eleven power cuts in two weeks sparks anger from Pateā residents

Residents of the South Taranaki town of Pateā are frustrated with the number of unexpected cuts to the town’s power supply, with residents demanding answers from electricity supplier Powerco.

Powerco confirmed to the Chronicle on Friday that there had been 11 outages across the township over the last 14 days, with the cause of them ranging from high winds to blown fuses and equipment failure.

Powerco did not say how many customers each outage affected, but said it ranged from “a single customer through to two outages impacting 1,298 customers each”.

Powerco said the largest power cut affected 1,298 customers on Saturday, March 6, when equipment at the Livingstone substation failed.

Customers were progressively reconnected during the evening, and all customers had their power restored by 4.13am on Sunday.

Powerco said investigations to determine the cause of the outage were ongoing, but it was believed a rogue possum sparked the failure. The equipment had been replaced and testing was under way.

Four days later, the same 1,298 customers lost power right on dinner time after “a piece of equipment on a pole failed”, Powerco said.

The outage lasted around 45 minutes, with power reconnected by 6pm.

On social media this week, posts complaining about the number of outages garnered hundreds of comments from annoyed residents, with reports that the town grappled with multiple unexplained power cuts over the last two weeks.

“The impact on families with young babies and the elderly and those with severe illnesses is just unacceptable,” one concerned resident said.

“These power cuts happen way too often, it seems every week to two weeks we get a cut. It also seems to be getting worse after all the so-called maintenance they have been doing. It really is unsatisfactory and Powerco needs to provide answers,” another commented.

Whanganui MP Steph Lewis, whose electorate includes the South Taranaki area, said some constituents had contacted her to pass on their concerns regarding the outages.

“It’s on my to-do list to get some answers for the people up there.”

Powerco said they were committed to ensuring a reliable power supply for the South Taranaki town, and were working to ensure the town remains connected.

“A range of projects have been recently completed or are nearing completion to ensure the safe, secure and resilient supply of power to Pātea,” the supplier said in a statement.

“These projects range from an upgrade of the facilities at the Livingstone substation to the replacement of cross-arms, poles and overhead lines in the area.”

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