Snow, severe weather warning for South Island
More than 700 households are still without power as another dumping of snow is expected for South Canterbury.
Alpine Energy Ltd chief executive Andrew Tombs said workers had been kept busy restoring electricity to more than 1000 businesses and homes affected by snow since Thursday.
The weight of the snow snapped power lines and in some cases broke poles.
"Snow is water laden and very heavy causing lines to drop down from the tension. They are designed to withstand snow and wind from 100 year events but this snow was beyond the technical design," Tombs said.
In Kimbell, between Fairlie and Tekapo, power was back on in time for dinner on Saturday evening after being two days without. Silverstream Hotel owner/manager Dave Clark said it was a relief to be back on the grid as the hotel was full.
"A lot of people have come up from Timaru to play in the snow, which is all fun if you can go back home to a warm dry house it's not so good for those that have to work in it."
Metservice has issued a severe weather warning for parts of the lower South Island, with heavy snow expected for Southland, parts of Otago and Fiordland from late Sunday afternoon until early Monday.
Snow is likely to fall in mid and North Canterbury, including Christchurch, and in Marlborough on Monday, and may cause disruption to transport.
The icy blast will follow a storm that dumped snow over the South Island and left power outages in its wake just days ago.
As at Sunday midday, 676 Orion customers remained without power, nearly two days after heavy snow fell on Thursday night.
On Saturday night, 418 were without power.
Orion operations manager Stuart Kilduff said things were "getting worse instead of better".
More feeders had tripped, and crews out trying to repair the lines were finding more damage than originally thought.
"The snow has brought down lots of lines," he said.
Some lines across river crossings would require a helicopter to resurrect them.
Some customers would be without power until at least Monday or Tuesday, but it would be a "small number of people".
Crews were currently working on the Castle Hill, Coleridge and Hororata areas.
Power was initially cut off to more than 4500 homes across inland Canterbury.
Blue Skies Weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard said a period of very cold airflow was expected to arrive over Canterbury late Sunday evening, easing on Monday.
Some snow showers were likely to fall near sea level during that time, but were expected to be light and mainly coastal, he said.
Inland areas might not see any snow at all, but about 3 to 5 centimetres of snow could accumulate on Banks Peninsula and Canterbury's hills overnight Sunday.
"There may be a little bit of snow on the ground on Monday," he said.
"It will be pretty light, pretty brief, but it's quite a different animal, if you like, that what we've seen in inland Canterbury."
Warnings affecting the alpine passes, of snow affecting the roads, had also been issued.