9 Oct 2015

Business owner irate at power outage

5:44 pm on 9 October 2015

A business owner in the Far North is fuming after a fault cut power to most of the district for several hours today.

A fault at the Kaikohe sub-station left 30,000 properties without electricity from Cape Reinga to Towai north of Whangarei, at about 10.30am.

Lines Company Top Energy has restored power to Kaitaia, Kaikohe and Kerikeri, and is gradually bringing smaller communities back online this afternoon.

It expected power to be restored across the region at 4pm.

The Far North lines company said it was still unclear what caused the fault and whether it was in Top Energy's system or Transpower's.

The fault also disrupted cell phone networks.

Kaitaia business owner Ian Walker said power cuts were all too common in the Far North and they were unacceptable.

"For a country that is supposedly first world, frankly the Far North is becoming like Zimbabwe and something needs to be done about it."

Mr Walker, who runs an IT company, said they were run off their feet trying to get businesses up and running again.

"Servers go crashing because of power outages, we get power surges through when they get turned back on again, it causes serious cost."

Ian Walker said the Far North was dependent on a single circuit from the national grid and the investment in power infrastructure in the region had been shabby for years.

But Top Energy spokesman Peter Heath said the company had spent $160 million in the past five years to make the Far North lines network more reliable, and today's power cut was frustrating for everyone.

Mr Heath said the fault was at a point where the Far North network linked into the national grid at Kaikohe.

Top Energy used its Facebook page to update people on what was happening.