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The Great Northern Blow 18 July 2015

I guess we all experienced the Great Blow yesterday morning.

The effect here in Tararu was to take out both the 410 and 240 volt lines right on the pinch point on the highway just north of Kuranui Bay (see photo from 10.30am today!)

The reason for putting this up is to give praise where it due - in this case - Powerco staff, and associated contractors who had restored the supply by 4.40am today - when I saw the mess at 2pm I thought it would take at least a full day because it could not have happened at a worse point on the entire highway at Thames. It was noticeable though that the reaction time appeared delayed - nothing to speak of on-site until nightfall, and this may be put down to the Powerco operation base move away from Thames to Paeroa. On the other hand, they were dealing with other quite possibly greater drama elsewhere. 

Transport NZ have resisted pressure for some years to improve this dangerous corner that abuts the sea and with a sheer bush clad slope on the landward side. Everyone in this town has a tale to tell about close shaves on this 70kph section, and cyclists, forced off the footpath by some over-zealous officers take their lives in their hands by attempting to ride it. 

A massive pine was uprooted by the biggest gust yesterday morning and crashed to the road with tonnes of associated material. It looked a mess when I saw it at 3pm with the lines buried, and almost impossible access without closing the road completely, and there is no possible detour.

Somehow those guys managed to clear the tree and material, plant a new concrete pole and put in a  temporary 410v patch while a massive sea and tide added spray to add to the weather woes during the night in order to ensure power to Tararu and north up the Coast Road before morning.

I have the greatest admiration for the manner in which these guys handle storms with great danger to their own lives, and under the most unpleasant conditions. Even the Stop/Go guys deserve recognition for standing there all night. Thank God Health & Safety officers remain tucked up in bed during these times.

Manipulating heavy machinery in such a confined space is dammed heroic if you ask me, and they deserve whatever recompense they get for working in these conditions.

A bloody good show!





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Reader Comments (2)

A great show indeed BUT, we are still without power (Monday 9.15am) from the point of impact to the Tararu Store. No workers at all on Sunday until 4.00pm and then they worked through the night until after 12.00 am when there was a BANG and they went home. Bloody awful hours for these guys and thankful for the time they spent on the job. Makes me wonder if the lines companies have not cut back staff to a point where anything major causes real problems. Well done the men on the tools but please can we have power. Thanks to the Coasatal Motel for my shower this morning.
PS look at the photo and the site, lots more trees above that area just waiting for the next storm,,,,,,,,,,,,

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClancy Nixon

Geez Clancy - I had no idea you were still out, but I guess that the entire area serviced by the transformer nearest the slip is in same position. The 410v patch obviously goes through to the next transformer outside the Arts Centre. My apologies - I should have checked - commiseration to you and your neighbors, and three bloody cheers for the Coastal Motel - it certainly would not do for you to be at work unwashed!
I hope that you had alternative heating - we have gas fortunately for us. Please let me know when you are back on - it can't be too long delayed, surely! I agree with your comments about Powerco - they did have some majors elsewhere apparently.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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