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Aurora Energy has again sparked fury in Central Otago after an unscheduled power cut left Cromwell residents in the dark for almost seven hours on Wednesday evening.
About 6.45pm power cut out for 1640 customers in Cromwell due to a cable fault.
An Aurora spokeswoman yesterday apologised for the outage, acknowledged the inconvenience, and said multiple crews worked through the night to carry out repairs, with power restored to the majority of customers at 1.15am yesterday morning — a small number of customers had their power restored later at 5.30am.
"Our crews worked as quickly and safely as possible last night to restore power."
Those affected included residential and business customers. One of the town’s supermarkets was forced to close early and the second was running on backup systems until they too ran out of power.
At New World, a staff member said that equated to some product losses due to loss of power to chillers before electricity was restored to the store at 1.20am.
Residents pointed out a lack of information from the lines company during the blackout.
Misha Wilkinson said she we was initially told by Aurora there was a "wee" outage in Cromwell but 20 minutes later she was told it was a major power outage.
"We asked if we could be called back once more info was known about the delay ... ‘no ... I’m just the after-hours person’."
When she asked if there would be an update on Aurora’s website or social media the answer was technical people work business hours, Mrs Wilkinson said.
She labelled the lack communication an "epic fail".
Vincent Community Board deputy chairman and long-time critic of Aurora Russell Garbutt said the communication issue highlighted the general failings of the company.
"Once again Aurora’s customer interface is exposed as worthless, operating 9-5 for an energy supply that is 24/7 with a call centre that takes no responsibility to take action outside of business hours is not good enough."
Despite promises to address communication issues, Aurora had not kept its word, he said.
Wednesday’s power cut echoed a similar outage in June that left 1200 homes and businesses in Clyde without power for about nine hours in sub-zero temperatures.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Commission will release its draft decision for its assessment of Aurora Energy’s investment plan which addresses historic under-investment on November 12 before a series of public meetings rolled out across the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts from November 23-25.