June 18, 2020, 6 a.m.
In one week the Far North had 4 unplanned power outages which affected thousands of customers in a region that, even prior to COVID-19, is in an economic recovery.
FNDC Councilor Moko Tepania expressed concern saying that “there are people around with serious illnesses that totally depend on power. No power for them is a huge concern.”
Both Top Energy and their supplier Transpower agree that unplanned power outages in this day and age is not acceptable and have been working hard to fix and upgrade their systems to minimise chances of recurring power cuts to the region.
Top Energy says “At this point we cannot be sure there won’t be further outages as there is still several weeks work to do”.
“Monday night’s outage affecting the whole of Top Energy’s network was caused by a bird strike on Transpower’s 110kV line into the Kaikohe Substation while their second circuit was out for maintenance.
The subsequent outages have been caused by deficient cabling at the Kaikohe substation which Top Energy bought from Transpower in 2012.”
The Far North pay the highest Regional electricity tariffs in NZ @ $0.41 kWph while Whangarei pay $0.29 kWph - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
According to the NRC Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan - Electricity Failure is one of the biggest hazard risks to the region due to points of vulnerability in the network, which could, in their words, cause ‘severe economic and social consequences’.