Assistance for Taupo Plains customers underway

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PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE

With 400 customers without power, Unison Networks is focused on restoring power where access allows and assisting the Taupo Plains community to get through what the company estimates will be at least a week without power from the network.

The wild weather has brought down around 150 33kV poles, and about 50 11kV poles across the Taupo Plains leaving around 200 customers without power.

Conditions are now allowing access for crews with snow having melted from previous depths of one metre.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, "the snow has now melted enough for our crews to commence the restoration programme.

"Higgins Contractors have started to clear the roads and our teams are accessing the area from the Taupo end. Teams will now be getting out there on foot which will allow us to get a better indication of the damage after initial aerial assessments yesterday.

"It looks like it's possible these customers may be without power for longer than a week. This is the worst damage we have seen in 10 years and it's going to take some time to fix the network devastation.

"Our focus is on helping our customers in this area to get through. We are liaising with Rangitaiki School to get a generator in there so we can get pump water from the bore for the community.

"The Tavern also has a generator which has been assisting with diesel. A community meeting is being arranged for midday tomorrow at the Rangitaiki Tavern. At that point we should have an even clearer picture of what we are facing in terms of restoration times.

"We are also continuing to make direct contact with customers to help them where we can through advice, information and support."

He also advised for dairy farmers still milking they should organise portable generation if they can.

He said the company was continuing to liaise with Civil Defence, Dairy NZ, Federated Farmers and Rural Support.

A public community meeting is being held for Taupo Plains customers tomorrow at 12pm at Rangitaiki Tavern.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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