Northland loses power after Transpower fault

Northland loses power after Transpower fault
Photo credit: Top Energy / North Energy

Power is gradually returning to parts of Northland crippled by a massive outage on Wednesday.

Centres north of Bream Bay - near Whangarei - were affected by the cut that happened at 9:35am on Wednesday, a Transpower spokesperson confirmed to Newshub. That included Dargaville, Whangarei, Paihia and Cape Reinga.

However, by 11:30am, power was starting to return to some areas such as Whangarei.

Northpower - responsible for between Bream Bay and Hukerenui - was affected for about an hour and a half. It says power should be fully restored by 12pm. 

Top Energy, which manages power from north of Hukerenui, also confirmed the outage to Newshub. More than 31,000 customers were affected at one point. At 11am, power had been  returned to the Far North.

On its Facebook page, Transpower said one of two circuits supplying electricity to the area was out for "essential maintenance" and the "other circuit has tripped".

"We are currently restoring power to both our circuits, bringing power back to Northland and the Far North. Following this, Northpower and Top Energy NZ will be able to gradually restore power on their networks. We will be flying helicopters over the line to inspect it, so if you see low-flying helicopters, that's what they're doing," an update at 10:48am said.

The Whangarei District Council released a statement calling for residents to conserve water and avoid flushing toilets. It also wanted motorists to be careful as traffic lights were out.

"The less stress we put on these systems during the outage, the sooner we will be able to recover when power comes back up," said the council's general manager infrastructure Simon Weston.

"We are liaising with power companies and will publicise any information as it comes to hand. Many thanks for your assistance."

The outage also affected the refinery at Marsden Point.

"Refining NZ confirms that the plant has been safely shutdown with no injuries and no identified damage to processing units, and with safety critical systems being maintained by emergency back up power," a statement said.

"During these processes flaring will occur as a mechanism to vent refining gasses safely as the processing units are depressurised."

Mercury Energy asked people to check on any of their loved ones who may be "medically dependent on power".

Many people shared their frustration on social media.

"Huge power outage in New Zealand North Island right now," said one person.

Another said: "Doesn’t seem to be power in many places in Northland right now."