Emergency services in Central Otago say a van was wrapped in live power lines after a fatal crash, forcing them to wait for nearly two hours before trying to reach it.
The driver was killed. No one else was in the vehicle.
Police say the van hit a power pole on State Highway 8, south of the town of Lawrence, just after 5am on Tuesday.
Fire Service spokesperson Andrew Norris says emergency services were delayed because they had to wait for authorities from Milton and further afield to isolate the power and switch it off.
Staff also had to take care because the van was thought to be carrying dangerous goods.
Mr Norris says it is not yet known whether the driver was killed by electrocution or the crash.