The police investigation into the death of a woman after a power cut allegedly switched off her breathing machine is coming to an end, as those closest to the woman today mark what would have been her 51st birthday.

Fai Deane was found unconscious and unresponsive at a Rifle Range Rd, Taupo, home at 8am on January 30, and she could not be revived.

Woman dies after power cut turns off breathing machine

Police confirmed a person calling for help indicated a power cut may have been responsible for Ms Deane's death, and her flatmate, Gagandeep Singh Bhangoo, told other media she had been released from hospital five days before her death with a breathing machine to help her, but the power cut stopped the machine from working.


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 Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Cranshaw, of Taupo, confirmed the loss of power was a factor in their inquiry.

A man was 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".

This morning, Mr Cranshaw said the police investigation, which included a post-mortem to try and establish the cause of Ms Deane's death, was almost at an end.

"Now we've got to look at the legality of charges and our next steps. We'll be seeking legal advice from our legal services or the Crown."

The man alleged to have caused the power cut could face more charges, but he did not know how long it would take before police made a final decision on additional charges.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhangoo paid tribute to his friend and flatmate on Facebook early this morning.

"I don't know what to say but happy birthday Fai ... I wish you were here with us today ... You always rock dum dum ... Miss you a lot ... "

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 that 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.