Power is back on to 300 customers in South Canterbury who were left in the dark overnight.
Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said he was still confident everyone would be reconnected today. Six hundred customers across the region were still cut off last night.
He expected Aoraki Mt Cook village's electricity to be back within the hour after contractors from Ashburton had been dispatched to Mackenzie this morning to fix a 33,000 volt line that went down yesterday.
Mr Tombs said the fault may have been caused by a lightning strike during the storm on Tuesday night.
The cost to Alpine Energy for Tuesday's windstorm is expected to top $500,000.
The biggest cluster of outages was around the Waitohi area, while parts of Rangitata, Milford, Orari, Pleasant Point, Levels, Holme Station, Waihao Downs, Waikakahi, Waihaorunga, Kelceys Bush and Waihao Forks were also cut off.
Badham Rd, near Clandeboye, was among the worst hit, with up to 20 power poles snapped like matchsticks.
The main power line into Waimate was cut after nine poles near the Fonterra factory at Studholme were brought down on Tuesday.
Alpine chief executive Andrew Tombs said the damage was on a par with the June 2006 "big snow".
"It could actually be a little bit worse . . . We haven't sat down and gone through all the data because our priority is to get restoration."
He estimated the snowstorm cost the company $1 million while the bill for this week's destruction was estimated at $500,000.
He said 100 poles would need to be replaced following Tuesday's storm.
He advised people to treat all lines as live at all times and not to cut any trees touching power lines or laying on top of power lines.
Anyone concerned was asked to contact Alpine on 0800 66 11 77.
BATTERED WAIMATE RECOVERING
Waimate was getting back to normal yesterday after being crippled by Tuesday afternoon's windstorm.
Electricity first went down in the township about 2.30pm on Tuesday, but was largely restored when a secondary line along Timaru Rd was reconnected about 5pm on Wednesday.
Residents and shopkeepers were still feeling the effect of the outage yesterday as the chaos continued.
At the Waimate Visitors Information Centre, Lee-Ann Smart said power was back on about 11am.
"It's really random; everyone is chipping in and opening up their freezers (to provide space).
"Business is alive again and we're back in the real world. It makes you realise how much you rely on the computer."
Mayor John Coles said it was chaotic at the council.
"We're working with Alpine Energy to get the essential services up again," he said.
"It still could be several days (without power) for some people.
"You experience these things and you think you've got it sorted but we're doing everything we can; people get a bit impatient after two or three days."
At the Criterion Hotel, manager Judy Alden said the township was looking busier yesterday.
"I'm glad the wind has passed over and hope that's it for another 10 to 20 years."
VOLUNTEERS PITCH IN TO HELP
Waimate's racecourse and golf course were significantly damaged by Tuesday's high winds.
Roofs were blown off the stand at the racecourse and more than 100 trees uprooted on the golf course.
Club members and volunteers have been at both sites over the past couple of days surveying the damage and clearing debris left behind after Tuesday's storm.
Racecourse trustees said it was unlikely the scheduled meeting for December 15 would go ahead, but golf club members were confident the course would be playable by Monday.
Racecourse caretaker Bill Johnson said insurance assessors were at the site on Wednesday and engineers surveyed the area yesterday.
The internal area of the stand was still in reasonable condition, he said.
Waimate Golf Club president Barry Jury said about 120 trees were down at the course.
"There's been a whole lot of man hours already, clearing branches, fairways and trees.
"Some of the trees that have fallen are huge."
Club members met on Wednesday night and have planned a "co-ordinated attack" for the weekend, he said.
"We think we'll get through it this weekend."
Members were already out with tractors, chainsaws and trailers.
"I'd like to think there will be dozens of volunteers there on Saturday; we reckon we will break the back of it.
"It will be playable after the weekend."
- © Fairfax NZ News