Police are yet to determine the role a power cut played in the death of a Taupo woman three days ago, but have said it's understood a driver who caused the outage by slamming into a pole collided with other objects beforehand.

Fifty-year-old Fai Deane was found unconscious and unresponsive at her Rifle Range Rd home at 8am on Saturday, and could not be revived.

A police spokesman told the Herald on Sunday the person who called for help indicated to police a power cut may have been responsible for her death, because it caused her oxygen machine to fail.

Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Cranshaw, of Taupo, told the Herald today police were still investigating Ms Deane's death.


A post-mortem took place on Sunday, but initial findings would not be released yet, Mr Cranshaw said.

"We're still making inquiries. It wouldn't be fair on her family and others involved to comment."

The power cut is believed to have been caused when a motorist crashed into a power pole on Rifle Range Rd just after 3am, and the loss of power was "a factor" in the police inquiry, he said.

"We haven't ruled it out or ruled it in ... it's too early to say whether it's part of the outcome."

A man has been charged with driving while disqualified in relation to the crash, and Mr Cranshaw said it was understood the driver had "collided with or scraped other obstacles in the lead up to the crash. These events will form part of the ongoing police investigation".

He wouldn't give any other details on the man, and said it was too early to know if more charges would be laid.

Ms Deane's flatmate, Gagandeep Bhangoo, told other media Ms Deane was released from hospital on Monday last week with a breathing machine to help her.

Lakes District Health Board have confirmed Ms Deane was a patient under the board's care, and the Herald is today awaiting response to questions about the type and brand of oxygen machine she was given, instructions given on contingencies in case of power outage and whether the circumstances of her death or her care were being investigated.


Lines company Unison Networks is responsible for electricity distribution in Taupo and customer care manager Danny Gough confirmed on Sunday power was cut to 630 properties in Rifle Range Rd early the day before.

Power was restored to all but 65 properties within 10 to 15 minutes, and to all by 7.20am.

In 2007, Mangere woman Folole Muliaga died the same day a contractor to Mercury Energy cut the power to her home.

A coroner later found the 45-year-old, who was using an oxygen machine, died as a result of morbid obesity, but also the loss of power played a part in her death.

Mrs Muliaga's power was cut off because she hadn't paid her $168.40 bill.

Less than a month later, Mercury Energy introduced changes to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, including requiring customers facing power disconnection to receive a personal phone call to check whether there are medical or hardship reasons not to cut off the electricity.

The Electricity Commission, now called the Electricity Authority, also introduced voluntary guidelines - involving electricity retailers, hospitals and GPs - to identify and help protect vulnerable people from electricity disconnection.