26 Jun 2015

Making do without power after Canterbury's snow

5:57 am on 26 June 2015

About 12 customers remain without power in Canterbury, more than a week after heavy snow cut electricity to close to 5000 households and businesses.

Snow damage to lines near Lake Coleridge which is still without power.

Snow damage to lines near Lake Coleridge which is still without power Photo: SUPPLIED

The scale of the job has held up repair crews, who are now focusing on a remote stretch of road at Lake Coleridge in the Canterbury high country.

Selena Parker, who lives on a sheep station at Lake Coleridge with her partner and two pre-school children, has been without power since Thursday last week, when heavy snow brought down power lines.

She is one of the lucky ones however, having the only generator and phone line on the station.

"People have been coming to use the internet, otherwise they've just been cooking on gas stoves and using candles."

Ms Parker and her family had only just moved in at the station when the snow hit, having made the trip from their previous home in Hokitika.

They escaped the flooding there by a matter of days, only to find themselves surrounded by snow.

However she knows where she would rather be.

"When I show pictures to my friends they say people pay lots of money to stay in places like that, (it's) beautiful, stunning."

The snow has been a hit with her children, she said.

"Oh they think it's great, they've been outside playing in the snow and when they get up in the morning, my eldest boy's like snow, snow and I'm like, yeah, there's still snow here."

While the power would not be back on for another three or four days at Lake Coleridge, electricity had finally been restored to the home Rhonda Marshall shares with her partner in nearby Kowai Bush.

Unlike the Parkers, they have no generator and have had to make do with a log burner for warmth and meals made on a small gas cooker.

"Well, I went to bed quite early and that because once you've had tea there was nothing else to do really apart from sit and talk and look at the fire. Of course the candles don't give off enough light to do any reading."

Ms Marshall said after five nights without power she was struggling to see the funny side of things.

"The first night it's ok. It's a bit like the candle lit dinner but after the second and the third night the novelty wears off. And then the phones went out, plus the cellphones, so yes that made it really difficult."

After making do with meals from the small gas cooker for five nights they celebrated their first evening with electricity with something special.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the roast tonight, plus pudding, so yeah, I went all out."

Orion said now the majority of its lines had been repaired, it was directing more crews to finish work around Lake Coleridge and expected the power to be restored to its remaining customers by Monday at the latest.

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