Your Views

Have your say on the issues of the day

Do you know someone still without power?

Hundreds of people are being offered generators, food, water or accommodation as Vector struggles to restore power in the Auckland region after last week's storm.

Vector was last night unable to say when power would be restored, saying several of the affected homes were remote and needed specialist work to repair the lines. Here is a selection of Your Stories:

Tarnz
As a daughter of one of the lineman that works in the Helensville area it's a shame to see the locals having a crack at these guys. There are only six faultmen at the Helensville depot and they are well known to the community. Do these people really think they want to be out in that weather trying to get their power on, while they are sitting inside moaning? We never saw our Dad from 6am Tuesday morning till 5pm Friday afternoon because he was out with the rest of the teams trying to get peoples power back on. It's a not right that the local frontline guys should be targeted like this as they have a job to do to service from Kumeu to Dairy Flat and from South Head to Woodcocks Road. If any thing these guys deserve the thanks of the community not the constant barrage of complaints and insults.

Pissed about power
My comment is more to do with the service from Genesis.

Power was partially out at my mother's home on Sunday morning and I tried fruitlessly to get through to Genesis. They cut me off twice after waiting in 'line' for 15 minutes, so I ended up ringing the business faults line thinking that might be faster. I kept getting engaged signals, and then finally I got through to an automated system. By this time I was extremely frustrated so I pushed the number for a 'life threatening' power situation thinking that might get me through to someone.
Unfortunately I got another automated system telling me everyone was busy and my call should be answered within 8 minutes. Too bad if it actually was life-threatening because after 15 minutes of waiting I ended up hanging up. I am absolutely shocked and appalled that I could not get through no matter how hard I tried. The service is absolutely shocking and if my power provider was Genesis at my home I would be changing straight away!

Sharron
I am so grateful that we were not affected too badly in this past storm & have been having friends over for showers & food. It casts doubt on the civil defence emergency advise to have supplies on hand for 3 days. I know I will be rethinking our emergency plans.

Mary
My sympathies go out to all those people on the North Shore and in other areas who are still without power after a week. This is the 21st century, where long term power outages are not expected or shouldn't be tolerated. The problem lies solely with the power companies, who are putting money before people, by not employing more contracting staff and at the end of the day, it comes down to plain negligence of the people, as the result of greed for the almighty dollar. It's interesting to note that this policy of less staff, poor service, more profits etc is the norm now and it only came into force when the free market economy was introduced in this country in the late 1980s and early 1990s, supported by our politicians and big business. Prior to that, long term power shortages in suburbia were unheard of, because the companies concerned were a public service, thereby responsible and always employed enough maintenance staff to make sure the repair work was done satisfactorily for the benefit of the customer. These days, as the result of the privatization and deregulation of our service industries there's absolutely no accountability or responsibility taken, let alone service!

Peter
The sad aspect of the recent power problems in Auckland is that no one is fronting up and taking responsibility.

hastings
I have friends in Helensville who have been without power since Tuesday 10/7, have had to send their son to family & have lost food. I was once without power for 1 night & found it hard but 6-7days is ridiculous. Although its nobody's fault but natures, the power company should have had enough warning to prepare for the rain & winds. I wish every1 in darkness well & hope they see the light soon.

L

I agree with those who have, even just a little bit of understanding.
My Partner is a line mechanic, and I have barely seen him in 6 days now.
He's out there working his tail off to get peoples power on, often in dangerous situations, and he's received nothing but grief. Give the guys a break. They're under staffed, and exhausted. Some of them don't even have power at their houses yet. They dont get to choose the jobs they are sent on. They are assigned them.Oh and if you do see them working outside your house. Don't yell and scream, and blame the situation on them. They are doing the very best they can.They are not sitting at home in the warm, watching TV. they are out there fixing your power. Even on the night of the storm. they were out there in 150km winds, up poles. trying to sort it out.While their families sat at home in the dark, worrying if they will be ok? These guys work in serious situations every day. and having people yell and take their frustrations out on them, is not helping at all! In fact its making it worse.

Fire fighter
Here's my two cents. Now, I don't mean to belittle anyone who is frustrated at this point because it's human/kiwi nature to believe one's own situation is the worst out there but really, has no one listened to the years and years worth of CD advice being put out in print, radio and TV? By this I steal a quote from one of the views published earlier "heaven help if NZ has a natural disaster because no one will be there to help!". Exactly! There is no gigantic magic rescue army waiting in action just to fix your needs. This is what we've all been warned about for donkeys years, granted - the lack of power is not quite a volcanic eruption or earthquake but c'mon, it was one bloody big event. I would really, really like to know how many of all the complainants will actually learn from the experience and be better prepared next time. Big ups to all the power company staff out there taking the brunt of peoples' frustrations, we know the hard slog you're putting in to fix it. And if you wonder why you're holding 45 minutes to talk to someone on the phone, perhaps it's because there's a hundred thousand other people just like you doing the same thing.

Julie
To all the people here who are going on about contents insurance. You do realise that contents insurance comes with an access of at least $200, which most people would have not much more than that lost! So why should we have to loose our no claims bonus plus pay access? And to the same people who are saying - give these guys a break they are doing the best they can, and there are so many people calling which is why you have to wait on hold! I bet those people are all sitting at home in a warm house with lights and TV so I think they should think about how they would feel six days in the darkness and cold with no hot water etc? All we are asking for is some communication! Give us an estimated time so that we can find somewhere else to live. Tell us we will be compensated somehow? Subsidise a hotel for people or send out vouchers or something! Don't just leave them waiting and give them nothing, no feed back nothing! These people need to put themselves in our shoes! I understand that they are doing the best they can so how about communicated that to us. I am sick of not getting told anything. I'm sick of these people who aren't in the situation!

Fran
Come on people as you can see from the views voiced here, there are a lot of people without power. You all wonder why you have to sit on hold for so long - it's cause everyone else is calling also. There is so much damage that unfortunately these companies cannot possible help every single person on the spot, straight away, it will take time. Contents insurance covers any food you may have lost due to this and if you don't hold this then maybe you need to think about getting a policy. Be patient and be happy that you have a roof over your head at all  a lot of northlanders do not even have that.

Fiona Cross
Yes, we too had no power for six days. We were able to manage by cooking on gas stove  three-ring burner and heating water on fireplace. It gives a new appreciation of pioneer families in early NZ.

Stefan
At 34 Harley Cl in Takapuna on the 10/7, a tree was blown down damaging a car and three power poles which brought down the overhead mains to a group of residences. As there are a few very tall gum trees on site the electrician and the owner decided to underground the mains to avoid this happening again. The power was scheduled to be reconnected today, but for some reason the council has put a stop to the digging. The electrician is running round like a headless chook trying to get an answer from the council as to why they have been stopped, or if they should re-instate the overhead supply but says that he can't get in contact with them. Our contractor onsite says that power is required for at least one old couple on site. At the moment the job is on hold, waiting for the council to give the go-ahead. Crazy.

Paul (Auckland)
No, week-long power outages don't "just happen" in major cities. They are the result of poor planning and under-investment in infrastructure.

Power girl
I work for an electricity retailer and we have had so many calls about the outages it's not funny. We have been completely overloaded. The lines company have been working overtime to get power restored. Can't people be patient and understanding? This has been caused by something completely out of anyone's control. Many big main lines are down which is why they are load controlling. Big outages like this happen every once in a while. Cut people some slack, they are working as hard for you as they can.

Irena Dahlstrom
I feel really sorry for the people without power, but with regards to the frozen foods which they have had to discard, they can claim on their contents insurance. That may help a bit.

Martin (Auckland)
I once lost power after a major weather event (hurricane) for ten days but not in NZ, it was in the capital of Virginia: Richmond. As I knew it was coming, I got through it a lot easier. The difference was that between every recent storm I went through and the (cyclone?) storm that blew through New Zealand was the prior notification. The newscasters here didn't seem to alter their coverage or appear to say much more than "lots of rain and high winds expected". Whereas in the US I was always notified by TV or radio and you knew when there was a named weather event whether it was a snowstorm, icestorm, tornado, hurrricane, electrical storm which may be a force rating of Y. The useful part is knowing about well before it happens. Surely with wind speeds that hit 160 kph and the large amount of moisture that was in that system that was going to hit maybe half the population of NZ, did this warrant an appropriate warning to the populace? Maybe the Government could have replaced some of its repetitive advertising/self-promotion segments on the and radio to let the meteorologists do just that.

Simon Craggs
I live in Whangarei and was also without power from Tuesday until it was restored last night at 7p.m. I also have two children under 5. I am not complaining, however, because I can understand why, as a single customer, we have to be lower on the list of priorities than faults with multiple households. I am also thankful to the two Northpower guys who came to restore power to my house at 7p.m. on a Sunday night in the pouring rain. These guys have been slogging their guts out to get people's power back on. Perhaps you could do a story on them.

Sharon
Yes we are also still without power in Waimauku, Auckland six nights in total. We are one of four residents in the same street without power. We have been ringing and ringing but no one will give us a straight answer. It definitely feels likes a third world country!

Caren Beer
It is also day 6 without power for my son who lives in Waimauku. Their water is also run by power so after day 4 and staying at relatives or in a hotel they hired a generator. They are still waiting for power to be reconnected.

Bernie (Sunnyvale, Auckland)
Following the power outage last Tuesday, the power to our hot water cylinder was turned off without any word from Mercury Energy. On July 12th, I tried to get through to Mercury Energy's fault line (recorded message you call is expected to be answered in 15 min) well, 45 min, 22 min and 47 min respectively through the day, finally getting through the final time. They told me that power would be on within a day or two. Come July 14, we were still were without hot water, and after another two tries to their phone line  35 and 44 min respectively, they informed me that they were, "working on it" with no date given for completion. On their website "news", no mention of anything about the power outage, only all the old stories about the Muliaga family. Mercury Energy's phone message was inadequate with no mention about disconnections of hot water, nor the decreased supply of electricity to the homes. We found this out by our circuit breaker continually tripping with the dryer and kettle going. So all I have to say is: "Mercury Energy, you still cannot get it right and your customer service leaves a lot to be desired!"

Tracy Fraser
My parents property in Mangawhai is still without power. They had a big tree come down over the lines outside their house. They cut up the tree that fell and are using the wood for the fire place. The power people have contacted them to say the job is bigger than they thought and would be in contact again  but they haven't had any further contact. There is even still a power line over their drive-way and they were told not to drive over it  but they have been so they can go to work. They have lost the meat in their freezers (cow and pigs). Although a neighbour who did have power cooked up some of their hams before they went off for them. Their chickens got everything else in the fridge/freezer so they had a field day!

Julie
My husband and I live in Glendene  right in the middle of suburbia. We seem to be the only house on our street without power. We have been without power since Wednesday so 6 days today. We have been calling the faults line several times a day and keep getting giving different reference numbers but no answers. We have lost over $200 worth of frozen food and food and drink in the fridge. We have had to go to friends and family to have a shower and we have spent all our money on takeaways so that we can eat. At night we use all the blankets in the house, a camp light and just sit in the dark and in silence, hoping for someone to arrive to turn the power back on. Six days later, nothing. Today I phoned and was very upset and was finally put through to a team leader who was actually helpful and says she will keep in touch with me and let me know what's going on, I have had no contact at all. The other people I have spoken to have just said that I need to find alternative arrangements! What the hell is that about I ask? I pay a hefty mortgage for perfectly good house and I am now being told to move out until the power comes back on! I want to know who is going to pay for the food that I have lost? Who is going to pay for power and food that I have used at friends and family and the food we have had to buy because ours has gone off! Who is going to pay for the stress this has caused us? I can bet that Mercury will not be! I can bet that they are all safe and warm in there houses!

Alias (Auckland)
I think Vector's attitude is poor. I have been without hot water since Tuesday like a lot of other people and when you ring Vector you sit on hold for over half an hour then wind up speaking to some person who can't give two hoots and reads from a pre-prepared patter! A company such as this that provides an essential service should be prepared to deal with emergencies as and when they occur and not just plead that it was a freak weather bomb and shrug it off, as they are doing. After all they have a captive audience!

Hayley (Helensville, Rodney)
We lost power on Tuesday 10th. Due to a concrete power pole falling to the ground and it also blocked our driveway preventing us being able to leave our property for over 24 hours. Power lines were disconnected on Wednesday with us dragging the pole out of the way. We have not seen or heard anything about when we will reconnected. I have had send my six-month-old baby to my in-laws due to it being to cold for him at night time.

Ian Johns
We are in Takapuna (hardly a remote area also) and have been without power since Wednesday morning. Same deal as the people in the article, repeated phone calls have done nothing whatsoever.

Donna Greig
I live Rimmers Rd, Helensville. Which is not a remote rural area and have been without power since 5.15pm on Tuesday 10/7. Because we are on tank water we also rely on power to run our pumps for water. I have had to dumped two fridge freezers and one freezer loads. We have lines down at the end of our right of way and also a power pole down. This is affecting five households on our right of way one of which has a baby under 12-months. This was a storm that went through, yes a bad storm, but at the end of the day it was just a storm what would happen in a real disaster? I ring the 0800 number twice a day for an update on connection and although they are very nice they have no idea. Commence tells me I would need to see some workmen in our area for the power to be connected, and nope, this has not happened. I am about to ring the power company yet again for another update!

Helensville
We are in Rimmer Road, Helensville and we have been without power since 5.15pm Tuesday 10/7. We have lost everything in the freezers and fridges and we have no water because we need power to run the pumps we have power polls and lines down on the ground and the way it is going we wont have power any time soon it is absolutely disgusting and heaven help if NZ has a natural disaster because no one will be there to help!

Joy, concerned daughter (Wellington)
My elderly parents (73 and 82 both with disabilities) are at Ti Point near Warkworth and are having to bucket water from their outside tank into the house. They were also without their phone until yesterday. My mothers' attitude (which the family all think is marvellous) was not one of anger but total resilience.

"I came through the bombing blitz in London dear, and that went on for an awful long time. Of course we can manage. Think of what those poor people in the South Island had last year they were weeks without power."
All a case of keeping things in perspective.

Charmaine Newson
We live in Te Atatu Peninsula and also still don't have power to our property. We called faults on Wednesday and called about three times before our call was answered. We were on the phone for 40mins to the faults line yesterday morning and didn't get through but managed to get through last night. However, no promises have been given as to when power will be restored to our property.

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