The power outage on Thursday has been the talk of the town for the past few days.

I've heard people asking "where were you when the power went of?" several times.

Just in case you were out of town, I'll remind you what happened.

At about 3.50pm simultaneous lightning strikes knocked out two Transpower circuits about 40km east of Taupo, cutting power to around 80,000 customers in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne.


Power cuts are not uncommon but what was unusual about this was how widespread it was.

Then as the minutes ticked by and people realised it wasn't just a little hitch, they reached for their phones.

Of course if, like the majority of people these days, you have cordless phones, they were not working either.

As cellphone users tried to ring family, friends and the power company to find out what was happening, the network couldn't handle the load and crashed as well.

We in Hawke's Bay are not used to being powerless and phoneless.

We live in a world where we take it for granted that we are able to instantly contact whoever we want, whenever we want.

People rushed home, causing chaos on wet roads with traffic lights down. But the worst thing for me was hearing that someone was rescued from a lift.

I hate those things, I always try to take the stairs. Being stuck in a lift would be terrifying.


Imagine it just stopping. You wouldn't know why it stopped or what was going on in the world outside. I'm sure my imagination would run away with me.

I'd start thinking about being trapped in a small confined space suspended in midair by a cable that could break at any moment sending me plummeting to ... the thought makes me feel sick.

When I was in Australia for my daughter's wedding, we were staying on the Gold Coast in this huge hotel.

We were on about the 10th floor, which I wasn't that happy about, but of course I didn't say anything, didn't want to be a spoilsport.

Every time I got in the lift, I would just tell myself not to be silly. Then one of the children hit a button that took us right to the top floor. It was about 30 floors up and I was not happy.

I couldn't get out of that lift quick enough.

I'm the same with underground carparks. No thanks, I'd rather walk a mile in the rain than park in one of those things.

What if there's an earthquake? I know it's silly but that's just how I felt.

Getting back to the powercut.

I know it's been said a million times before but are you ready for the "big one?' Do you have an adequate emergency kit? Does your family have a plan for a disaster? T

There hasn't been a big "emergency" in Hawke's Bay for a very long time.

We don't get snowstorms like they do down south, with power cut off for days on end in the middle of winter.

We haven't even had a decent storm for ages.

I hope it stays that way but sooner or later odds are that Mother Nature will take a swipe at us.

I think I might buy some more batteries and a torch or two ... just in case.