Possum’s havoc cost $50k

A possum caused more than $50,000 worth of damage to lights in a small South Otago town, after an incident involving a power pole went drastically wrong — not just for the possum.

The possum’s adventure with the power pole ended up damaging nearly every street light in Clinton from its escapade, leading to some costly repairs.

Clutha District Council deputy chief executive Jules Witt said the council was still unsure why such a large number of lights were effected when the event happened in late January.

Mr Witt said it took two days for repairs to be carried out.

"However some of the light fittings are close to the 11kva power lines and they required special ‘close approach’ permits which meant a delay of another couple of weeks for some lights on the highway," he said.

"In total there were 44 lights affected and because the fuses were inside the light heads, when the power spiked it damaged most of the lights beyond repair."

Mr Witt said is had been the council’s policy for the past two years to put external fuses in any lights that the council repaired to prevent this type of event.

The total cost of repairs, including traffic management and power permits, was more than $50,000.