The people responsible for a spate of vandalism around the electricity lines network in Napier are lucky to be alive, electricity distributor Unison says.
The company is now calling on the community to report any suspicious activity around its assets following a bout of vandalism on its Hawke's Bay network over the last week.
Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said crews had been dispatched to three incidents in the Taradale and Bluff Hill areas to make safe 11kV switches which had been deliberately interfered with and damaged.
"These reckless and wilful actions create a significant health and safety risk for both members of the public, and Unison's field staff and contractors."
Mr Gough said Unison urged people to report any suspicious activity to try and stop these vandals, before someone got seriously or fatally injured.
"It is fortunate that someone hasn't electrocuted themselves.
"The switches enable Unison's 11,000-volt distribution network to be reconfigured or isolated. This ensures, where practical, the power supply is maintained after a fault or de-energised while remedial work is undertaken on the network.
"Outages have been required to undertake the necessary repairs. These outages have affected more than 200 customers. While the cost to fix this damage is reasonably small, it is disruptive to these customers and a health and safety concern for the community.
"Public safety is Unison's number one priority and we want to reiterate to the community the importance of being vigilant about safety when around electricity assets.
"Although Unison experiences inadvertent damage to its assets regularly, this type of wilful damage is reasonably rare. Unison continues to remind the community of the risks associated around its assets."
As a result of the vandalism, the company initiated a re-inspection of all 11kV switches in the Napier area to see if any others have been targeted.
No further issues were found.
Any suspicious activity, damaged network assets, should be reported to the police or Unison on 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476) immediately. People should also keep away from the area and keep others away until someone from Unison arrives to make the area safe.