Drone inspects lines in investigation of outages

Investigations into several power outages that left thousands of people in Central Otago without power for hours are continuing.

Lines company Aurora Energy has advised customers a drone with cameras would be flying all week along the main electricity lines between Clyde and Alexandra as part of the investigation into the unplanned outages on January 19 and 23.

Aurora has not yet found a cause for the two power outages, which each affected about 8000 of the same customers from Clyde to Beaumont and St Bathans.

On February 9, power was out for customers in parts of Alexandra and as far as Lauder for up to 10 hours at some properties.

Then on February 11, 430 customers from Beaumont to Ettrick were without power for more than two hours on a chilly morning with snow on the hills in the area.

Aurora Energy general manager for network operations Matt Settle said the outage on January 23 came from the primary protection system not operating as planned, causing a trip to both lines and loss of supply to all customers.

The protection settings had been corrected and tested, Mr Settle said at the time.

An Aurora Energy social media post informing residents about the survey said a drone would be flying all week.

The drone would hover near powerlines and take pictures.

The camera on it would not look at buildings or through windows, the post said.