Storm causes major damage to power network

Wild weather from last week’s storm event created severe disruption across Franklin’s power network.  Extreme winds, driving rain and flooding resulted in major damage to the network and long power outages for up to 1,300 properties.   Flying debris from trees and vegetation caused the most damage with a few properties still remaining without power due to flood damage.

High winds and vegetation brought down around 40 lines across the district, while driving rain and flooding damaged electrical equipment such as transformers.  Each downed or damaged line can take around 4 – 6 hours to make safe, showing the huge amount of time and resourcing required.  In any storm event, the number one priority is safety – ensuring downed lines and unsafe equipment is made safe and secure for the public. Network stability and large-scale faults are the next priority for crews, then individual property faults.

Counties Power Chief Executive Judy Nicholl thanks customers for their patience and understanding during the disruption.  “We have had such an overwhelmingly positive response from customers who understood the complexity of what ours crews were dealing with.  High winds resulted in a huge number of downed or damaged lines – an enormous safety risk to the public.  Thank you to those members of the public for calling us immediately when they saw lines down and ensured that people and livestock stayed away from the area until our crews could make the sites safe and secure.”

“Our crews and other staff, many who were called back from leave, worked tirelessly to get the power flowing and keep the public informed, and I’d like to personally thank them for their hard work.  Our crews were out there in severe conditions and were true professionals.  This was the first storm event I’ve experienced here at Counties Power and I have been heartened by the way every one of the team rose to the challenge.”

This is a timely reminder to the public to please maintain their trees and vegetation.  Most of the damage to the network during this storm was caused by trees hitting lines and flying debris such as branches.  It is the property owners’ responsibility to ensure trees are kept away from lines and trees are maintained or felled if they are unstable.

More information can be found on vegetation responsibility and regulations, which can result in fines in excess of $10,000, at www.countiespower.com/trees.

For anyone who still has no power due to a fault on their private service line they can contact an electrician for a repair.

Please treat all lines as live at all times and call Counties Power immediately on 0800 100 202 to report any lines down or debris on lines. Do not attempt to remove branches or debris from lines or try to move them.

Counties Power customers can stay up to date during large scale events on Facebook –www.facebook.com/countiespower or the website –  www.countiespower.com/outages.

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