17 Jul 2017

Residents told it could be 'weeks' before power returns

3:20 pm on 17 July 2017

More wild weather is expected this week after a cold snap brought snow and winds, closing roads and cutting power across much of the country.

Powerco today restored power to the township of Mangaweka, although some rural and remote areas still remain without power tonight.

The township of Mangaweka had its power restored but many others in the lower North Island remain without. Photo: Powerco

More than 1300 North Island properties are still without power following last week's storm, and locals say the vague timeframes for repair offered by the lines company are frustrating.

The storm knocked down power poles and dumped snow on roads, leaving crews with plenty to clean up.

Powerco said it had caused millions of dollars worth of damage to power poles and lines.

Rangitikei farmer Greg Clifton said a PowerCo staffer told his wife it could be weeks before their power was back on.

"It's been off since the big snow dump the other day and we had PowerCo turn up Saturday and they called in to see if we're all right.

"They seemed to indicate to us that it will be weeks, as in I'd say longer than a week, I'd say at the earliest we'd be looking at the end of this coming week."

Henry Brown, who owns a cafe in Mangaweka, said he had missed out on one of the busiest weekends of the year because of the cuts.

He said he was given no time frame at all for when power would be restored.

Powerco said it might still have customers without power at the end of the week, but it hoped to get most properties re-connected later today or tomorrow.

The company has about 1000 properties without power, mainly in Taihape and the area near the central Plateau, after last week's storm.

Areas affected include parts of Wanganui, Taihape, Utiku and Mangaweka.

However, there were some fresh outages this morning in parts of Taranaki.

Powerco said that number would be reduced today as more people were brought back on line.

But there might be some people in remote areas who would need to be provided with generators, as it would take longer to restore power.

The company's operations manager, Phil Marsh, told Morning Report the company was committed to connecting everyone again as soon as possible.

"We'll see these numbers come down today, we're making really good progress, we'll see more numbers tomorrow.

"Just chipping away."

Mr Marsh said about 50 power poles were damaged in the storm.

MetService said a front was expected to move on to central New Zealand today following a burst of heavy rain in northern Westland.

There was a possibility the ranges northwest of Nelson, the Marlborough Sounds and Richmond Range, Wellington and the Kāpiti Coast including the Tararua ranges could be drenched by bursts of heavy rain through to tonight.

MetService said there was high confidence for "warning" levels of rain in Westland and eastern Bay of Plenty on Wednesday and early Thursday this week.

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