Back-up generator powering Glenorchy

Aurora Energy has brought in a back-up generator to power Glenorchy homes and businesses as it works to repair "extensive" damage caused by yesterday's strong winds.

Strong gusts of wind and heavy rain left about 4500 homes and businesses in the region without power last night.

By this morning about 420 were still without power, and in a statement this afternoon Aurora said the number was about 160. 

In an earlier statement Aurora said a generator was up and running last night, but a fault on the line prevented it from restoring power to all customers.

"It was too dark for crews to locate the fault last night, so repair crews returned this morning and found and fixed the fault, enabling power to be restored to the entire Glenorchy township from mid-morning today."

Before it could switch Glenorchy from generator supply back to network supply, it needed to locate and repair the remaining faults

It expected this to be done by the end of the day and there would be a brief outage while it was switched over.

Around 5pm on Wednesday Aurora said inaccessible terrain was hampering efforts to repair damaged poles in a remote part of Ettrick after trees came down on the line. About 12 customers would remain without power overnight.  

Power was off in the following areas:

 - Glenorchy area (140 customers)
 - Ettrick (12 customers)
 - Makaroa (1 customer)

- Camp Hill Road (2 customers)

 - Lindis Pass-Tarras Road (5 customers).

Earlier, a helicopter was being used to locate faults and a crew discovered lines down at Rat’s Point and a broken cross arm at Bob’s Cove this morning.

"Our crews are continuing their concerted effort to restore power to the Glenorchy area, however restoration efforts have been hampered by limited access, difficult terrain and extensive damage from downed trees."

Aurora Energy also confirmed this morning repair work was continuing today in Lauder Flat, where 190 homes and businesses were without power.

Emergency services were stretched reacting to multiple incidents across the region last night, after trees and power lines fell, blocking several roads and causing traffic to back up.

Police said there were more than 25 wind-related calls received during the event.

The destructive weather hit Alexandra first before making its way to Queenstown, Wanaka and Lake Hawea.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has confirmed Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd will reopen at 10.30am, after crews worked to clear debris, with speed restrictions staying in place for the rest of the day.

About 50 vehicles were reportedly stuck on the road at Bobs Cove after trees and power lines fell and blocked it shortly after 5pm.

Speargrass Flat Rd is likely to stay closed throughout the day after two large trees fell and blocked the road due to the severe weather conditions.

QLDC said staff are working hard to deal with the "aftermath of some pretty scary conditions''.

Roads affected included Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Rd, Hogans Gully Rd and Speargrass Flat Rd, between Hunter Rd, Domain Rd and at the corner of Church St and Marine Parade in the Queenstown CBD.

A car crash was reported in Frankton Rd, with tow trucks called and one lane reportedly blocked for a short while.

Firefighters responded to reports of a power line on fire at Glenda Drive in Frankton.

No injuries were reported in this incident.

The strong winds also affected flights in and out of Queenstown, with three flights cancelled and others delayed.

MetService forecaster Andy Downes said the strongest gust of wind in Queenstown was recorded at the airport just before 5pm. It measured 105kmh.

The burst of severe weather came just a day after a large tree fell at Shotover Jet, injuring five people.

The Central Otago District Council closed Earnsleugh Rd, near Alexandra, overnight after trees and power lines fell there and in Chapman Rd. It has since reopened. 

Fallen trees and blocked roads were later reported in the Hawea area.

A tree fell on to a house in Grandview Rd, Lake Hawea, but resulted in no injuries.

To report downed lines, or trees in power lines, call Aurora on 0800 22 00 05.

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz 

 

Earlier story:

 

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