Help for residents during peninsula power outages

Otago Peninsula residents without power for significant periods over the next two weeks will be able to use a local hall and services for toilets and refrigerators after the local community board stepped in.

Lines company Aurora is to replace a total of 16km of power lines and poles on the peninsula this year, in a $2.5million bid to improve the reliability of the power supply to the area.

As the work begins, power is expected to cut to some customers between Allans Beach Rd and Harington Point Rd in Portobello at different times over four and a-half days this week, and to Harwood customers from March 16 to 18.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope said initial communication about the cuts had been haphazard, as the notes sent out by power supply and traffic management companies left customers confused.

Last week, he met Aurora staff and negotiated for the company to supply a generator at Scott Hall at Harwood, which would be open over the three-day power outage there, so people could use hot water and refrigeration for medicines and foodstuffs.

People could also contact the Otakou marae, which had generators and would be open.

Community board members had identified a welfare list and would visit those people daily during the Harwood outage to make sure they were coping, especially the elderly or sick, Mr Pope said.

Aurora would provide vouchers for Portobello residents to use at a local cafe during outages there and would ensure toilet facilities and water were available.

Customers in the Portobello and Harwood areas had experienced 16 unplanned outages since 2017 due to a range of factors, including adverse weather events and defects in ageing lines, poles and power infrastructure.

A small group of customers between Allans Beach Rd and Harington Point Rd in Portobello would experience outages while 1.8km of lines and some poles were replaced this week, he said.

Contractors would carry out work from March 16 to 18 at Harwood, to replace 2.3km of lines and some poles.

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