Power cuts as gales batter Bay

By Anna Rushworth


High winds buffeting the Bay cut power to about 5000 homes in and around Tauranga yesterday.
This morning about 1000 homes were still without power.
The gale force winds caused damage to electricity supplier Powerco's distribution system.
Powerco network operations manager Charles Kaka said the winds began to cause problems from about 11am yesterday and had brought down a number of overhead lines, including 33,000 volt and 11,000 volt sections of the network including Aongatete, Omokoroa and Kauri Point.
The high winds were also hampering repair efforts.
"Our crews have repaired sections of lines only to have the winds damage them again, resulting in some areas experiencing several outages overnight," he said.
Mr Kaka said crews had worked through the night with the focus on restoring supply to the largest affected areas as soon as possible.
"While the high voltage network has sustained wind damage we have also had a large number of low voltage faults on 400 volt sections of the network in and around Tauranga.
"Often these low voltage faults affect just one or two consumers but still require significant resources to repair." Mr Kaka said at 8am about 1000 homes in and around Tauranga were still without power. He hoped power would return this afternoon.
"However, with the gale force winds continuing to blow today there is the possibility we will continue to sustain damage to the network today which could result in more disruptions."
The high winds also helped fan a fire in Oropi overnight.
Five fire trucks attended a massive shed fire on Oropi Rd that started about 2.15am.
The fire was fuelled by the storage of firewood in the shed.
Three trucks from Greerton fire station were used, as well as one from Mount Maunganui and a fourth from Tauranga.

Because the fire was in a rural area the Te Puke water tanker was also called.
Tauranga senior station officer Geoff Purcell said the fire was caused by sparks being carried from a nearby incinerator by the wind. The Tauranga station said it had received no reports of structural damage caused by the wind. The MetService gale warning in place for the Bay tipped westerly winds to reach 35 knots, easing to 25 knots this evening.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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