Power outages put Dallington preschool under pressure

Preschool teachers from Educational Child Care Centre in Christchurch are at their wits' end.

They have arrived at work to find there is no power on four separate occasions over the last two weeks.

The outages were caused by thieves who have been stealing copper from the powerlines along Gayhurst Rd at night.

This means some Dallington residents - and businesses like the Educational Child Care Centre - are waking up to find they have got no electricity.

Manager of Educational Child Care Centre Sarah Webb-Matenga said it is proving difficult to keep the preschool running.

"We just haven't been able to open. The first time we couldn't open until after 10. And this last two times, it was sort of nine".

The centre is concerned the ongoing issue of outages could result in them losing some families to other preschools.

The difficult situation is starting to become stressful for parents trying to drop off their children first thing.

Sara Farmer, a parent of one of the preschoolers, said the situation is incredibly challenging for parents.

Educational Child Care Centre located on Gayhurst Road in Christchurch. Photo: Emily O'Hagan
Educational Child Care Centre located on Gayhurst Road in Christchurch. Photo: Emily O'Hagan
"We have to get to work or we have our day set out and planned already and this is just a setback for your morning".

The repeated bold attacks are puzzling residents, who have various theories as to who might be behind the powerline thefts and why they are doing it.

Farmer said it must be someone who is trained in dealing with powerlines.

"It's not like every Tom, Dick and Harry knows how to take down powerlines. It's just insane".

It is not just the adults who are baffled by the run of incidents - the centre's children are also confused about what is going on.

Webb-Matenga said the kids are frightened of the thieves.

"We had a wee boy arrive this morning with a torch in case it's dark again". 

The childcare centre is asking nearby residents to keep their eyes open and to report any suspicious activity, and they hope police can make this electric crime wave in Dallington a priority.

By Emily O'Hagan, made with the support of NZ On Air