Powerco pushes to restore power to final 900 central North Island homes

Pohangina Valley farmer Tony Gray waits for the snow to clear and lights to come back on four days after a big snowstorm ...
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Pohangina Valley farmer Tony Gray waits for the snow to clear and lights to come back on four days after a big snowstorm swept through the central North Island.

The lights are back on for most of Manawatu and Whanganui, but hundreds of properties are still in the dark as Powerco makes a big push to restore power everywhere by the end of the week.

Nearly 10,000 homes lost power after a massive snowstorm swept through the central North Island, leaving an estimated $2 million of damage to the Powerco network.

Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh said the company was focused on getting the last 900 homes back up and running in the next few days.

"There may still be some pockets that will take longer, but they will be contacted by either Powerco or a local council representitive."

READ MORE:
* Many homes still without power after storm
* Contractors busy trying to restore electricity in western North Island
* Several roads remain closed in Rangitikei and Manawatu
* A week of wild weather: How the wintry blast affected New Zealand

Marsh said repair crews would be busy in rural and remote areas around Taihape and other parts of Rangitikei.

"Helicopters are delivering more than 70 poles, and kilometres of line, into the Central Plateau area where roads are inaccessible."

He said residents could help the repair effort by reporting any continued issues as the work crews came through.

If people's homes  were left with no power, or not enough, especially after neighbours had theirs restored, they should call their electricity provider, Marsh said.

Tony and Lynda Gray's Pohangina Valley farm was still under a coating of snow on Tuesday and without power for four days.

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Tony Gray said workers had hooked the power lines back up at their place on Monday, and were working on the neighbours'. So, he figured their power would probably come back on Wednesday.

Because of their relatively remote location, the Grays are used to going without power for long stretches when the lines come down.

"We're at the end of a line. They tend to start at town and work their way out to us."

So, they were well prepared to wait it out this time, with a 400-litre petrol generator, gas cookers and a water pump.

Gray was more preoccupied with the state of his farm, and mending fences "squished by macrocarpa" brought down by the snow.

"If the weather stays good for at least three days, that'll give us a chance to get really stuck into the cleanup and hopefully dry the ground out."

He said the slowly melting snow and rain  left the  paddocks in a slushy mess, and they needed a stretch of good weather before their livestock could graze properly.

 - Stuff

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