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
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