Bay mops up af­ter rain lash­ing

Crews nav­i­gate slips and fallen trees in ef­forts in get cus­tomers back on grid af­ter wild weather lashes re­gion

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front Page - An­drew Ash­ton an­drew.ash­ton@hbto­day.co.nz

Res­i­dents and busi­nesses in ru­ral Hawke’s Bay still with­out power af­ter rough weather on Tues­day are hop­ing they will be up-and-run­ning be­fore long.

Wild weather knocked out power to sev­eral ar­eas of Wairoa on Tues­day, with the tiny tourism hub of Morere closed down for the day.

About 160 East­land Net­work cus­tomers in parts of Wairoa in the Raupunga, Morere and Kia Kia ar­eas, were still with­out power yes­ter­day.

A spokes­woman for the Gis­bornebased lines com­pany said crews were fac­ing sev­eral ac­cess is­sues, such as mul­ti­ple slips and fallen trees across roads and pow­er­lines.

The weather also closed the mini­tourist hub of Morere, with the Morere Hot Springs Lodge hav­ing to turn away cus­tomers.

Owner Dale Mad­sen said the lodge, op­po­site the Hot Springs re­sort, was with­out power and “flooded in”.

“There are peo­ple work­ing on the lines at this point but they haven’t been able to tell us when we can ex­pect a bit of power,” Mad­sen said yes­ter­day.

“We just have our fin­gers crossed, try­ing to de­cide what we are go­ing to do be­cause we’re at the other side of the bridge here and we’re flooded in with no ac­cess to gen­er­a­tors.

“We do not have any­one here at the mo­ment and we’re hav­ing to tell peo­ple not to come at this stage for tonight [Wed­nes­day].

‘‘We’re hav­ing to shut that down just for the night.” The tea rooms were also closed. “We re­ally have our fin­gers crossed that these guys on the lines will get it done but it does put a halt on the whole mini-tourism clus­ter here.”

Power was re-sup­plied to the lodge and the rest of Morere about 2.15pm yes­ter­day.

Uni­son re­la­tion­ships man­ager Danny Gough said lines crews in the rest of Hawke’s Bay put in a “Her­culean ef­fort” to re­store power to cus­tomers else­where in the re­gion.

“Sud­den changes in river lev­els, flooded roads, slips, trees and other debris com­ing down across roads and through pow­er­lines meant the sit­u­a­tion for us was very fluid.

“Man­ag­ing the safety of our teams through a sig­nif­i­cant weather event like this is our num­ber one pri­or­ity, so we al­ways have to bal­ance this re­quire­ment against our crews want­ing to re­store power for our cus­tomers as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

At the peak of the event, about 1200 cus­tomers were with­out power with most peo­ple up and run­ning within a few hours.

“Restora­tion was tough go­ing how- ever, as our crews typ­i­cally faced ac­cess is­sues to get to ar­eas of the net­work that was dam­aged, due to blocked or flooded roads, and sod­den ground.

‘‘Once we could get to the af­fected ar­eas, we then had to re­move trees and other debris off the lines.

“De­spite a Her­culean ef­fort by our crews through­out Mon­day night and all of Tues­day to re­store power, un­for­tu­nately we could not quite get ev­ery­one back on by the end of the day.

‘‘We did have 29 cus­tomers in our more chal­leng­ing or re­mote ru­ral ar­eas that had no power Tues­day night.

“Our crews have been back out at first light, and we will have their power back on by the end of the day [Wed­nes­day].”

The rest of Hawke’s Bay was dry­ing out and clean­ing up yes­ter­day.

The sit­u­a­tion for us was very fluid. Man­ag­ing the safety of our teams through a sig­nif­i­cant weather event like this is our num­ber one pri­or­ity. Danny Gough, Uni­son re­la­tion­ships man­ager

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