Crucial tips to prepare for power outages in lockdown as storms expected over Easter

A storm is expected to hit New Zealand late Easter weekend.
A storm is expected to hit New Zealand late Easter weekend. Photo credit: Getty

Power cuts could be on the way with a storm predicted for most of New Zealand over the Easter long weekend but with the nation in lockdown, the response may be a bit different.

Metservice says stormy weather is predicted for Sunday and Monday with cold rain and strong winds expected all over New Zealand, with power outages possible.

Energy companies will continue to respond to power outages as essential workers, but Vector is warning customers if the power goes out during the storm it may take longer to get it back again.

Vector's Head of Capital Programme Delivery Minoru Frederiksens says: "Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, our response to outages caused by storms will be different, as we have reconfigured how our teams work together.

"It’s possible that it could take longer to get power back if there are outages due to the forecast bad weather this weekend."

Frederiksens is asking Kiwis to stay patient and prepare.

"We are acutely aware that our customers are confined to their homes and whether working from home or not, any outage will add to the stress of the COVID-19 lockdown.

"In light of the advice we are currently receiving from meteorological services, we ask that customers do their best to prepare."

With the lockdown in place, New Zealanders may not be able to rely on old habits during a power outage.

Many people who experience electricity issues go to the houses of friends and families but this weekend everyone must keep to their own bubble.

Since you won't be able to rely on others for electricity or food outlets for takeaways, ensure you have an alternative fuel such as a gas barbeque available for cooking. 

If this isn't possible make sure you have a variety of food options that don't require electricity to make.

People who are working from home over the weekend are urged to think ahead and plan for if a power cut may occur by charging devices and power banks often and setting up alternative ways of completing work.

Metservice is asking New Zealanders to consider moving Easter Egg hunts to another day as the traditional Sunday morning weather may not be suitable, or find alternatives such as moving it indoors.

Vector is urging everyone to stay away from fallen power lines, electrical equipment and to watch out for falling tree branches.

They also recommend turning off all electrical appliances at the wall to prevent any possible power surges and if your water supply is from a water tank, plan to have plenty of bottled water available over the weekend.

Make sure you have a torch and spare batteries handy, as supermarkets around New Zealand will be closed on Good Friday.

Fire and Emergency NZ encourages people to ensure trampolines and outdoor furniture are secured and check any old burn sites are fully extinguished so they do not reignite with the strong winds.

Manager Rural Fire Tim Mitchell also wants to remind people to not light any fires during the lockdown as "Even a fire that is under control can prompt a 111 call from the public and mean firefighters need to leave their bubble unnecessarily.

"Take the precautions to keep yourself, your bubble and our firefighters’ bubbles safe this Easter weekend."