No power but dairy owners keep their cool

Jumbo Dairy manager Debbie Green eyes up an ice cream which has been kept cold thanks to the use...
Jumbo Dairy manager Debbie Green eyes up an ice cream which has been kept cold thanks to the use of a generator given to the dairy by Aurora Energy because it was facing its fifth day without power since April, due to the lines company’s pole replacement programme. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
A Dunedin  business facing its fifth day without power since April, due to Aurora Energy’s pole replacement programme, was given a helping hand by the lines company yesterday.

About 210 customers were left without power in parts of Northeast Valley between 9.30am and 3.30pm yesterday  while Aurora Energy replaced three poles as part of its fast-track pole replacement programme.

Debbie Green and her partner Gordon Davidson, of  the Jumbo Dairy in  North Rd, had faced the possibility of another day without power but the lines company contacted them earlier this week and offered the use of a generator for the day.

When the couple had earlier contacted Aurora about  a generator, they were told it was entirely up to them if they wanted to use one, Ms Green said.

She  was happy the business had been able to operate normally yesterday but said she was still disappointed with the apparent lack of concern by Aurora and the Dunedin City Council for businesses and residents affected by the power outages.

"Just a bit more empathy towards small business and residents wouldn’t do any harm, because it’s not just our area it’s happening to."

Questions asked of Aurora about how many more outages they could expect had gone unanswered, she said.

"It’s really not just about us.

"We’ve got a lot of elderly people in this area and they don’t use the internet or Facebook.

"I just think they should be better at letting us know what’s going on."

She also questioned why the council did not do more to help the situation.

"I emailed the council and their reply was it was Aurora’s issue and I emailed them back letting them know we, as ratepayers, owned Aurora."

In a written statement, an Aurora Energy spokesman said the lines company had apologised to the Jumbo Dairy owners and had decided, given the number of outages, it was reasonable to provide a generator yesterday.

It was  unusual for one customer to experience that number of planned outages in a short  time, the spokesman said.

During the five outages, Aurora had replaced 16 poles in the Northeast Valley area.

All affected customers were notified in advance by their electricity retailer and planned outages were published in the Otago Daily Times each Friday, on Aurora’s website and its Facebook page.

Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said the pole replacement work was very important and the council had encouraged Aurora to complete the work as quickly as possible.

Ms Bidrose acknowledged the planned outages created disruption and the council sympathised with the business owner.

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