Stickybeaks cut electricity

Two birds have been identified as the culprits responsible for causing a power outage in Te Anau...
Two birds have been identified as the culprits responsible for causing a power outage in Te Anau yesterday. PHOTO: SUE MCMURTRIE
Birds tampering with a network were the cause of a "massive boom" which left an area of Te Anau without power yesterday.

Te Anau Signs owner Sue McMurtrie said she was half way through an email when she heard the explosion about 10am near Sandy Brown and Caswell Rds.

What followed was an awful smell, similar to burning plastic, which spread throughout the area.

"There was this really loud bang and then the power went.

"A customer pulled up the driveway to our business and said, ‘Did you hear that?"’

Most of the buildings in the block had also lost power.

She immediately reported the fault to PowerNet.

Staff responded quickly and the service was "outstanding", she said.

Her first reaction was concern for her business, which would be unable to run until the outage was fixed.

"As long as the power is out we’re behind. We’ll probably have to work late and we just can’t afford to lose a day."

The outage was especially hard considering it was coming up to the end of the financial year and businesses were still dealing with the effects of Covid-19 and some severe weather events.

However, she acknowledged it was just one of those things.

"Accidents happen. It is what it is, you’ve just got to roll with it."

A PowerNet spokeswoman confirmed the fault was caused by a pair of birds which tampered with network equipment and caused two fuses to blow.

The outage affected 25 network customers for about an hour before power was restored about 11am.

The birds did not survive the event.


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