Vector is to be stung with a yet-be-determined financial penalty due to the length of Auckland power outages in 2015 and 2016.

The lines company is being prosecuted by the Commerce Commission for what the regulator said was an "excessive level of power outages".

The commission is filing High Court action against Vector under the Commerce Act alleging the company failed to adhere to good industry practice in some aspects of its network management, which resulted in increased outages over 2015 and 2016.

Vector isn't contesting the charges and the commission says it has also reported further breaches of its quality standards for 2017 and 2018 that are subject to a separate investigation.


More details are likely to emerge during a High Court penalty hearing. It is understood a date for this has not been set and the NZX-listed firm could face a fine of up to $5 million.

Vector, as a regulated lines company, is required to meet certain quality standards.

One of these is the average duration of network outages.

"The commission found that Vector breached this quality standard by 51 minutes in the
2015 regulatory year and 13 minutes in the 2016 regulatory year," Vector said in a statement today.

"Vector has noted to the commission the circumstances that it believes contributed to its breach of the service quality standards in 2015 and 2016.

"These conditions included increased storm frequency and other weather-related impacts, increases in Auckland's traffic congestion, which have slowed travel times and can prevent maintenance crews from reaching network faults in a timely fashion and Vector's decision to prioritise safety of its people by introducing a best-practice policy to avoid working on live lines wherever possible, which can lead to extended outages," the lines company said today.

Vector's chief network officer Andre Botha said:

"We understand the disruption these breaches have caused for some Aucklanders and we have been working hard on a range of measures to reduce the impact. However, we also believe the existing regime for quality control no longer reflects the reality of
the changed operating environment, particularly in Auckland, and meeting these legacy quality standards will remain a significant challenge for ourselves and others in the industry."