Power outage continues for family

By Imran Ali

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Rachael Wells with daughters, Amylia (left) and Angela waiting for the power to be restored to their Awanui home.Photo/Supplied
Rachael Wells with daughters, Amylia (left) and Angela waiting for the power to be restored to their Awanui home.Photo/Supplied

No electricity for nearly a week is taking its toll on the Wells family of Awanui who are forced to drive to Kaitaia daily for hot showers and to recharge phones and computers.

Raechel Wells said after being without power since 11am on Tuesday, she was "totally over it" with Far North lines' company Top Energy continuously pushing back estimated times when electricity would be back on.

Since they source water from a tank that runs off power, the family had no running water and had resorted to filling up their containers at her husband Anthony's workplace where they also have their showers. It's about a 5km drive to Kaitaia from their home.

Mrs Wells said while it was a difficult time for her family she was mindful of other families in a similar situation- some of whom may be worse off than them.

"It is frustrating but we're managing as long as I don't have to boil water for my kids to drink.

We have to go to my husband's work in Kaitaia to fill up the containers and we go to the library to recharge the laptop so the kids have something to watch in the evening," she said.

She has two daughters, Angela, 12, and Amylia, five.

"We were hoping for power to come back on, on Friday, because it was my daughter's fifth birthday and we had planned a celebration. My father-in-law came up from Auckland to Dargaville but couldn't come up north because of the floods."

Her mother, who lives in Towai and sister-in-law from Dargaville, couldn't make the trip to Awanui.

Instead of a celebration at home, little Amylia went to day care on Friday with a cake to share with her friends and the family had dinner at McDonald's.

"I am totally over it (outage). I think I was over it by Thursday with all the plans we made for her birthday. We couldn't even take her out because of the flooding in Kaeo," Mrs Wells said.

She's buying food daily after throwing some of the frozen items from her refrigerator, while most of it was taken to a freezer at her work.

Candles and cellphone lights were used at night, she said.

Mrs Wells said she rang Top Energy daily for updates and was told that power would be back on at her rented property at 9pm on Saturday but was later advised it would be the same time last night.

"It's the first time we've gone without power for this long. The longest it lasted was a day when they did some maintenance work," she said.

Yesterday morning, Top Energy said 650 households throughout Far North were still without power as of Saturday evening but its crews were working to bring that number down to low 100s by last night.

Chief executive Russell Shaw said 18 lines' crew have been brought from Northpower and Well Network in Waikato and Counties Power since Tuesday to help Top Energy staff working round the clock to repair faults right across the Far North. He said it could be Tuesday before power was fully restored. The weather was fine in Awanui and Kaitaia areas yesterday, except for some patchy cloud.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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