Debris caused massive power cut

Debris blowing onto Orion's Papanui substation has been blamed for a power cut which plunged 30,000 Christchurch households into darkness last week. 

The power cut began at 9.30pm last Wednesday and while power was restored quickly for 12,000 customers, 18,000 were without power for almost four hours. 

Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said despite meticulous inspection of 18km of high voltage lines in the area, no damage or cause for failure had been found. 

''By eliminating line and substation problems, we have been able to conclude that the fault was most likely caused by a small piece of material being blown into specialised equipment,'' he said. 

"It would have had to hit a certain spot to cut power to both lines in the area. Whatever caused the cut would have exploded on impact, leaving no trace."

Emergency staff had worked through the night to restore power and lines were now up and running.

The Press