Family without power three days after storm

By Lydia Anderson

Lily and Damon Andrews are among Aucklanders whose power hasn't been reconnected despite repeated calls to their electricity provider. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Lily and Damon Andrews are among Aucklanders whose power hasn't been reconnected despite repeated calls to their electricity provider. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A Glen Eden family are fed up at being without power three days after an Auckland storm, despite numerous calls to their power company.

This week, a big storm took out power to thousands of homes across Auckland, although electricity has now been restored in many places.

Several angry Weekend Herald readers emailed the newspaper yesterday to say they were still without hot water, even though their power had been reconnected.

However, Damon Andrews of Glen Eden, his wife Lily and 3-year-old son Dean were still waiting for word on when their power would be back on, even though many of their neighbours' homes are recon-nected.

"We've got no lights, we've got no heating because we use a heatpump, we've got an electric stove so we haven't been able to cook," Mr Andrews said.

The family had bought a load of groceries just before the storm but had had to throw all their food out from the fridge and freezer.

"We have to eat out, so it's pretty expensive," he said. "It's been real cold because we usually have a heater on at night time. My wife's been sleeping in the lounge, because it's the warmest room, with our son."

Mr Andrews said he called Genesis several times but was told the company could not log the fault because it fell between three overlapping outages in his area.

On Thursday, he called Genesis again to say his neighbours had been reconnected but was told his fault could be related to a Titirangi fault, and Genesis could not log it.

Yesterday morning, he called again twice - the first time spending an hour on hold, and the second time getting a message that Genesis was accepting only emergency calls.

After calling the emergency line in desperation, he was told his power outage was not an emergency.

"All I wanted to do, really, was log a fault so it was in their system."

He could not see any damage to any lines around his house, so did not think the outage had occurred on a street level.

Mr Andrews' father, Duncan Andrews, said the family were coming to his house for showers.

"It's like being in a Third World country. Three days without power in Auckland is a bit unusual."

He was sick of calling Genesis Energy, his son's power company, and not being given answers, he said.

At lunchtime yesterday, Duncan Andrews tried again, and after being put on hold for 45 minutes, he was finally able to lodge the fault with a call centre.

Genesis spokesman Richard Gordon said while he could not comment on individual cases, when a fault call was lodged with the company it was passed on to United Networks, a division of Vector.

He could not specify when a fault would be fixed, and advised customers to contact their lines company directly to check the progress of their lodged fault.

Vector spokeswoman Sandy Hodge said Vector had fixed all the main feeder faults but there were still pockets of customers without power throughout the Auckland region, and last night 120 houses were yet to be reconnected.

"As far as we know we've done the big jobs but if there's still individual clusters of houses without power let us know, and in most cases we do actually already know about it."

She knew of pockets in Coatesville, New Lynn, and South Titirangi Rd that were still without power.

Crews were working through last night to reconnect houses, starting with larger outage areas and working through to individual house outages.

"I know everyone's a priority when they don't have power but you've got to try to fix the bigger ones first."

In terms of hot water supply, some houses in West Auckland and on the North Shore had hot water pilots - which supply electricity to hot water cylinders, independently of the main power supply, she said.

Crews were working to resolve that problem yesterday but she said hot water tanks took time to heat up.

"If [customers] run it at the tap and it's luke warm, it's on its way."

A similar problem struck the same areas in April when the remnants of Cyclone Ita brought down trees and power lines, cutting electricity to thousands of customers.A

- APNZ

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