Power substation fire causes major outage in Wakatipu

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A fire at downtown Queenstown’sDelta substation has caused a major power outage to large areas of Queenstown and Arrowtown this afternoon (Friday).
 
Power went down at large numbers of businesses and homes in downtown Queenstown, Arrowtown, Glenorchy and along Frankton Road and Gorge Road about 2.40pm.

Queenstown fire brigade chief fire officer Bob Robertson says he saw a lot of blue smoke coming from a transformer at the station, which is behind the fire service’s Isle Street base.

He hasn’t attended the job but believes a transformer caught fire this afternoon, resulting in the power cut.

“I don’t know too many details but it’s all under control,” he says.

“Our guys are waiting on Delta to arrive.”

All businesses along one side of the Mall and one side of Rees Street have been hit by the outage and affecting several others on Camp and Shotover Sts for at least one hour.  

Old Man Rock cafe manager Dee Rangi says the power cut couldn’t have come at a worse time, during lunch service.

“Our coffee machine is down, our fridges are down, and there’s only so much we can cook on the gas hob. It’s a bit of a pain,” she says.

Rebekah Moore of Reading Cinemas Queenstown says about 50 people were sitting in two pitch-black theatres for a while, waiting to see if the power would go back on, before being ushered out. “We’ll have to give them all complementary tickets,” she says.

A Delta lines company spokeswoman says her switchboard has lit up like a Christmas tree: “It’s a biggie.” 

Contractors for the company are trying to narrow down the source of the problem, she says.