Power company surges into action


A dramatic power cut in the Wakatipu has sparked an electricity company to replace failing parts.

About 1000 homes in Frankton, Lake Hayes Estate and Arrowtown were thrown into darkness at 8.30pm last Thursday.

Social media lit up with comments about a “huge flash” and a “massive bang” at Frankton’s Glenda Drive.

Power was restored to Lake Hayes Estate about 11.20pm, with others switched back on progressively until early Friday morning.

Delta Utility comms man Gary Johnson blames the failure of “connectors” at two points along overhead lines - at Glenda Dr and Jims Way, in the Lower Shotover.

He says electricity distributor Aurora Energy will replace this type of connector at Lake Hayes Estate and Frankton in the coming months.

Some Lake Hayes Estate residents - who aren’t allowed woodburners – are worried about the frequency of power cuts.

But Johnson says there have been four ‘outages’ so far this year - the same number as the same period last year.

The main difference, he says, is the duration - a major storm downed overhead wires on January 31, leaving houses without power for most of the day.

Johnson apologises repeatedly for the power cuts and says the company does all it can to provide a reliable supply.

Unfortunately, power cuts happen from time to time, he says. 

Power comes into Lake Hayes on overhead lines on what Johnson calls a ‘mixed urban/rural feeder’.

“The likelihood of outages is relatively greater on rural supply than urban supply because they are generally fed from a single circuit and there are no adjacent circuits that can be ‘switched on’ to provide an alternative supply.

“In addition, rural supplies are mostly delivered via overhead lines that are exposed to harsher environmental conditions over a comparatively longer distance.”

That might be cold comfort for residents at Lake Hayes Estate - a modern and relatively recent subdivision - who
have their heating sources killed when they need it most.

Incidentally, Lake Hayes Estate residents can’t blame their new neighbour Shotover Country for the cuts.

Johnson says it’s supplied on a different circuit.