Pow­erco pushes to re­store elec­tric­ity

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Front Page - PAUL MITCHELL

The lights are back on for most of Manawatu and Whanganui, but hun­dreds of prop­er­ties are still in the dark as Pow­erco makes a big push to re­store power ev­ery­where by the end of the week.

Nearly 10,000 homes lost power after a mas­sive snow­storm swept through the cen­tral North Is­land, leav­ing an es­ti­mated $2 mil­lion of dam­age to the Pow­erco net­work.

Pow­erco net­work op­er­a­tions man­ager Phil Marsh said the com­pany was fo­cused on get­ting the last 900 homes back up and run­ning in the next few days.

‘‘There may still be some pock­ets that will take longer, but they will be con­tacted by ei­ther Pow­erco or a lo­cal coun­cil rep­re­sen­ti­tive.’’

Marsh said re­pair crews would be busy in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas around Tai­hape and other parts of Ran­gi­tikei.

‘‘He­li­copters are de­liv­er­ing more than 70 poles, and kilo­me­tres of line, into the Cen­tral Plateau area where roads are in­ac­ces­si­ble.’’

He said res­i­dents could help the re­pair ef­fort by re­port­ing any con­tin­ued is­sues as the work crews came through.

If peo­ple’s homes were left with no power, or not enough, es­pe­cially after neigh­bours had theirs re­stored, they should call their elec­tric­ity provider, Marsh said.

Tony and Lynda Gray’s Po­hang­ina Val­ley farm was still un­der a coat­ing of snow on Tues­day and with­out power for four days.

Tony Gray said work­ers had hooked the power lines back up at their place on Mon­day, and were work­ing on the neigh­bours’. So, he fig­ured their power would prob­a­bly come back on Wed­nes­day.

Be­cause of their rel­a­tively re­mote lo­ca­tion, the Grays are used to go­ing with­out power for long stretches when the lines come down.

‘‘We’re at the end of a line. They tend to start at town and work their way out to us.’’

So, they were well pre­pared to wait it out this time, with a 400-litre petrol gen­er­a­tor, gas cook­ers and a wa­ter pump.

Gray was more pre­oc­cu­pied with the state of his farm, and mend­ing fences ‘‘squished by macro­carpa’’ brought down by the snow.

He said the slowly melt­ing snow and rain left the pad­docks in a slushy mess, and they needed a stretch of good weather be­fore their live­stock could graze prop­erly.

Po­hang­ina Val­ley farmer Tony Gray is still wait­ing for the snow to clear.

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