Zapped possum causes Gisborne blackout

By Marino Harker-Smith of the Gisborne Herald

A possum chose the wrong power pylon to climb in Gisborne. Photo / File
A possum chose the wrong power pylon to climb in Gisborne. Photo / File

A possum is being blamed for a blackout of the Gisborne CBD and central suburbs on Saturday night.

It appeared the possum climbed a power pylon at the river end of Stanley Rd and was shocked on the 50kV sub-transmission line that links the Transpower Gisborne substation and Eastland Network substation.

The Carnarvon St substation supplies 6900 connections in the Gisborne city centre and central suburbs.

The blackout affected properties from Kaiti Beach to Mangapapa.

Stanley Rd resident Lee Belcher said there was a "huge bang", followed by an "enormous flash of light" before everything went black.

Further investigation with neighbours led to them finding a dead possum with a "singed belly" on the ground near the power pylon.

Mrs Belcher described the incident as "amazing" and "very dramatic". Immediately after the blackout people on a nearby footbridge bridge were screaming.

Eastland Network general manager of energy Brent Stewart confirmed it was highly likely the possum was the cause of the outage, which lasted 15 minutes. It was a fairly rare event, he said.

"Eastland Network has thoroughly patrolled the line and found no other possible cause of the outage," he said.

- APNZ

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