After the storm:  Trees cause “significant” damage to  electricity network in southern Wairoa area

After the storm: Trees cause “significant” damage to electricity network in southern Wairoa area

While Gisborne and the East Coast avoided the worst of last week’s storm, the Wairoa region suffered significant damage. Driving along the roads, the multiple slips and fallen trees are obvious reminders of the storm’s ferocity.

What’s not immediately clear is just how extensively the electricity network was affected by the extreme winds and intense rainfall.

Photos taken by Eastland Network and Eastech crew members show the full story.

“Issues occurred at multiple sites across the southern part of the Wairoa region,” said Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart today.

“In total approximately 30 poles and 3,000 metres of lines were brought down or damaged by a combination of trees toppling onto lines and airborne tree-related debris. Land subsidence was also a factor.”

Mr Stewart added that restoration efforts have been hampered by problems with access, with many roads impassable for days.

Wairoa township’s power remained on, but numerous small, rural areas were affected by power outages that lasted one or more nights. These included Marumaru, Tiniroto Road, Waihua Valley, Waihua, Raupunga, Mohaka, Kotemaori, Rangiahua, Ardkeen, Piripaua, Waihi, Putere, Willow Flat, Kakariki, Cricklewood, Ruapapa and Hereheretau.

“Unfortunately, the damage and associated outages are not unusual given the severe weather and the remote, heavily forested locations. Eastland Network covers almost 12,000 square kilometres, and these challenges come with the territory.”

Crews have been working every day since Friday to restore power.

Two generators have been brought in to supply electricity to more than 300 homes while the most difficult repairs are carried out. They are all expected to be completed by the end of the week.

“I would like to thank all the people who were affected by power cuts yet showed such patience and resilience,” said Mr Stewart. “And I extend my personal thanks to the crews, who’ve worked late into the night and throughout the weekend to get the power back on.”