26 Jan 2010

Minister defends Transpower over power outage

9:55 am on 26 January 2010

The Government is defending Transpower, over a massive electricity outage on Monday.

An estimated 70,000 businesses and households in Auckland and Northland lost power for about four hours after a fire under transmission lines on a farm in Waikato.

The farmer has been in a dispute with Transpower over access to the property for the last five years.

Auckland City Mayor John Banks says the company must be held accountable for the situation.

But Energy Gerry Brownlee says Transpower has been unreasonably blocked from doing vital maintenance.

Mr Brownlee says three power lines converge on the farm and there have been problems with the new owner ever since he bought the property in the early 2000s.

He told Morning Report a range of factors, including other maintenance and the weather, were behind the outage, not just the fire.