Shortly after 9am, electricity supply was lost to Gisborne East Coast region, affecting 20,000 connections which supply the entire population of the area.
Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart said 5000 customers in Wairoa are unaffected.
“A light fixed wing plane has struck the mid-span the 110kV lines from Tuai to Gisborne, causing damage to both circuits in Ruaka area. We have dispatched specialist repair crews and equipment to the site.”
Mr Stewart said he was unsure how long the repair would take and warned that power supply might not be restored until tomorrow.
He asked residents to conserve both power and water and to activate their home emergency plans. “Power could potentially be off for between 8 and 24 hours, so listen to the radio for further updates.”