Independent power cut review call

The people of Central Otago are tired of hearing excuses for power outages, Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan says.

He has called for an independent review of Aurora’s explanations for ongoing problems with the lines that feed power to the district.

More than 400 households in Beaumont, Ettrick, Island Block, Lake Onslow, Millers Flat, Raes Junction and Teviot were out of power between 9am and 11.30am yesterday — the fourth significant outage in recent weeks.

Lines company Aurora Energy said last night it did not know what caused yesterday’s outage.

It was still investigating the cause, a spokeswoman said.

She did not answer questions from the ODT, instead referring it to a press release issued by Aurora following outages on January 19 and 23, which affected nearly 8000 customers from Clyde to Ettrick and Lauder Flat.

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

The press release, dated February 1, outlined fault and system issues with the two lines that feed power to Central Otago from the Clyde grid exit point.

It said Aurora could not say what caused the faults that resulted in those January outages, though it noted there were no visible faults with the line itself and at that stage Aurora suspected "outside interference, such as as tree or animal contact".

It said it would undertake a specialist acoustic inspection to ensure it had not missed anything. That was planned for mid to late February. It was also reviewing the animal protection mitigations in place, such as possum guards.

"We’d like to reassure people we are pulling out all the stops to review and learn from the recent outages so we can provide a level of service that meets their expectations," Mr Settle said in the release.

Mr Cadogan said he was disappointed Central Otago had suffered such significant outages so close to each other recently, and called for Aurora’s explanations to be "closely scrutinised" by independent experts.

"The people of Central Otago are pretty tired of hearing excuses and I will look toward the reviews of Aurora’s reports for surety that the reasons for these outages are reasonable."