Extra lines crews arrive in Far North to help get power back to more than 2000 households

Line mechanics from Connetics and Scanpower arrived at Kerikeri Airport to help Top Energy crews get power back on to over 2000 residents in the Hokianga. Photo / Jenny Ling

Extra line crews have arrived on a New Zealand Defense Force chopper to repair the Far North’s “broken network” and help exhausted Top Energy crews get power back on for thousands of residents.

Nearly 2800 homes were still without power in the Far North as at midday today, mainly in the Hokianga, after Cyclone Gabrielle tore through the region downing trees on powerlines and causing widespread power outages and surges.

The crews from Connetics and Scanpower will be working alongside Top Energy contracting staff creating joint teams focused on restoring supplies to customers.

Nine line mechanics flew into Kerikeri Airport on a NH90 helicopter today , while others drove up north.


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Top Energy network general manager Ian Robertson said the extra help was “greatly appreciated”.

Crews were currently working 12 to 14-hour days to get electricity back to customers, he said.

“Unfortunately, the way the cyclone came round was to the west, we still had problems happening while we were out there.

“It will help with our fatigue as well.”


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Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw said he was grateful for the support offered by lines companies around the country.

Nine line mechanics arrived at Kerikeri Airport on a NH90 helicopter, while six others drove up north. Photo / Jenny Ling
Nine line mechanics arrived at Kerikeri Airport on a NH90 helicopter, while six others drove up north. Photo / Jenny Ling

He acknowledged Dannevirke-based Scanpower whose five lines mechanics have been working alongside Top Energy through the storm.

“Our teams have been working incredibly hard,” Shaw said.

“These extra hands will give a welcome boost to restoration efforts, as well as allow a bit of rest time for the crews as there are some long days ahead.

“It is a real boost to Top Energy’s restoration efforts to repair its broken network.”

The team brings with them two fully equipped double cab 4WD utes, including ladders.

They will be spread across the network, with five going to Top Energy’s northern depot, and 10 working from the Puketona depot.

Now that the weather has eased, Shaw expects good progress to be made on the remaining areas without power.

However, restoration would still take several days for most customers and longer for some, he said.

“Following yesterday’s helicopter and foot patrols, we were able to see where the worst damage to the network was, prioritise repairs and identify the equipment needed.


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“The worst affected areas remain the Hokianga and the southern area of the network. Work has been prioritised to get the most customers back on supply.”

Shaw said if anyone sees damaged equipment, they should contact 0800 867 363 and check the outage centre www.outages.topenergy.co.nz

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