Outages 

The physical nature of an electricity network means that, regardless of location, outages do occur. Outages are often caused by extreme weather, trees touching overhead power lines, car accidents involving power poles, and underground lines and cables being accidentally damaged by digging. Planned outages occur when we have to turn your power off so that our people can work safely near our network assets such as power lines and transformers.

The greatest risk to our network is a storm, which can cause widespread outages. To find out more about what happens during and after a storm, click on the storm tab below.

To manage outages, our network control team works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to balance the load across the network and to pre-empt and diagnose service interruptions. We have line mechanics in the field 24/7 managing planned works and responding to unplanned outage call-outs.

We cannot guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power. It is vital that if you use medical equipment that relies on electricity that you inform your power company, are prepared for power disruptions and have a backup plan. If there is an immediate health threat, contact your health provider or call 111.

VIEW OUTAGE MAP

 

1. Storms 

2. Planned Outages

3. Unplanned Outages

4. Residential Service Standards 

5. Gas Outages

NEED TO REPORT AN OUTAGE OR WANT TO STAY UPDATED?

Outages can be reported from within our Outage app.

The app also shows you where there are outages on our network. You can also subscribe to updates and bookmark addresses to get a push notification if there is an outage at or near your address.

For a quick guide to using the outage app, watch our video tutorial here.

You can also call us on 0508 832 867 to report an outage.

 

A desktop version of our outage map is available here and you can also Contact Us directly.

 

1. STORMS

Storms can cause widespread outages affecting thousands of customers. If you’re experiencing an outage during a storm, we encourage you to use the outage app to report an outage and track updates, instead of calling our call centre as call waiting times will be higher than usual due to the volume of calls. Our duty Outage Manager updates the call centre staff and the app at the same time, so the app will have the latest information available.

During a storm, we have teams both at head office and out in the field that work round the clock to prioritise repairs, restore power and keep customers updated. Our goal is to restore supply to as many customers as quickly as possible, while maintaining the safety of our crews and the public.

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RESTORATION PRIORITIES
We restore power in the following order:
  1. Network substations, gate stations and main feeder lines/pipelines - these form the backbone of our network and must be repaired before power can be restored further down the line

  2. Critical infrastructure - hospitals, water and sewage plants, airports

  3. Major locations - buildings in the CBD, high rise buildings, commercial centres and industrial plants

  4. Domestic properties - urban and rural

  5. Streetlights and hot water pilot lines

Crews are trained to work on our networks in all weather conditions and at any hour. However, safety always comes first, and there may
be times when it is unsafe to proceed. Delays may occur if crews are unable to get to the source of the outage, either because of the
terrain, traffic congestion or because the affected line/pipe is on locked or secured private property.

Have a look at these two videos for a behind the scenes look at work to restore power during a storm.
           
HOT WATER AFTER A STORM OR MAJOR OUTAGE

The hot water pilot lines on our northern network (North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney), can be affected by the same conditions
that affect our electricity lines. During a major outage, priority will be given to restoring power before hot water.

It can take up to 6 hours for a hot water cylinder to reheat once power has been restored after an outage. If you have no hot water:

  • Check that your hot water cylinder is on

  • If your hot water cylinder is heated by gas then contact a registered plumber

  • If your hot water cylinder is heated by electricity then please call us 0508 VECTOR (832 867)


Depending on the extent of the damage caused by a storm or major outage, some customers on the North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney may be without hot water until we’ve restored power to all customers. Once this is done, then our crews will start working on restoring hot water.

Please remember that our although our crews are on rotation to restore power and then hot water, they also need to be rested in between shifts to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

WHAT IF THE LINES/PIPES ON MY PROPERTY ARE DAMAGED?
We repair damage to lines, pipes and equipment on our network.

We cannot work on the national electricity grid, the gas transmission system, or privately-owned networks or customer service lines.

2. PLANNED OUTAGES

The most common reasons for a planned outage are the replacement of power poles, overhead conductors or transformers, and the maintenance of underground power cables.

We notify customers of upcoming planned outages at least 4 working days ahead of time, although we generally tend to send notification out at least a few weeks in advance to allow customers to plan ahead.  Customers are either sent letters or emails, with more and more customers opting to be notified by email. Our preferences webpage gives customers the ability to register multiple emails that planned outage notifications can be sent to.

If planned outages overrun due to technical reasons or repair complications, we notify customers where possible via text messages. If you’d like to register your mobile number for this, you can do this on the preferences webpage also.

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PREPARING FOR AN OUTAGE AT HOME
Regardless of whether you have received a planned outage notification, its always a good idea to be prepared for an outage. Here are some handy tips:
  1. Keep your mobile phone charged and consider having a spare battery or mobile power pack.

  2. Have a torch and spare batteries handy.

  3. Store cooking fuel, such as gas for your BBQ.

  4. Consider using a surge protection device to protect appliances such as the TV or computer from power interruption.

  5. Water pumps in rural areas may not work when the power is off. To prepare, make sure you store emergency water supplies for drinking and washing.

  6. Contact your house alarm provider to ensure you have backup battery supply during an outage.

PREPARING YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FOR AN OUTAGE
If you manage a business or are part of a community such as a rest home, its important to plan for an outage. Here are some things you should consider to help you prepare for an outage:

 

BACK-UP POWER

  • Generators: Consider installing a generator to keep essential services within the building operational, for example electronically accessed doors, lifts and emergency stairwell and hall lighting.

  • Emergency Lighting: Check how long emergency and back-up lighting in egress areas and stairwells will last in the event of a power outage.
     

BUILDING SECURITY

  • If security doors and garage doors will not work in the event of an outage (e.g. you don’t have a generator connected) consider hiring a security guard.

  • Ensure lifts are locked off prior to planned outages to prevent people from being trapped. Place a note on the lift doors to let them know.

  • Share information with the people affected so they’re prepared for an outage and know the measures in place.

  • If anyone is medically dependant on electricity, or are vulnerable, please make sure they have plans in place to manage during an outage.

  • Install temporary automatic chargeable lanterns in areas that would normally be lit for common egress – particularly around fire escape routes, e.g. foyers, hallways, garages, main access doors (these can be obtained from most hardware stores).

 

CAR ACCESS

  • If garage doors and gates are electronic, open them before the outage, so people can access their cars. Alternatively, if there is a manual override, make sure they know how to access it.

  • Consider using a security guard to protect access to the building.

 

PROTECT SENSITIVE EQUIPMENT

Consider using a surge protection device to protect appliances such as digital screens and computers from power interruption.
Check with equipment providers what to do to protect the equipment prior to a planned power outage and protect against turning off/restarting during any outage, e.g. pumps, electric doors, lifts etc

3. UNPLANNED OUTAGES

When downed lines are reported to us, we remotely turn off the power in the area as live lines can cause injury or death. Sometimes, our field crews will get to the site and find that the downed line was in fact an internet cable rather than a power line. However, because safety is important to us, we will always de-energise downed lines when they are reported.

For your safety, you should treat downed lines as live at all times and stay at least 10 metres away.

Trees are a major cause of power outages. You can play your part by keeping your trees clear of power lines.

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WHAT TO DO DURING AN ELECTRICITY OUTAGE
Here are some handy tips to keep you safe during an outage:
  1. Report the outage via our outage app or by calling 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867).
  2. Use a torch instead of candles (a torch is safer).
  3. Switch off sensitive electrical equipment, such as your TV, computer and stereo as they can be affected by a power surge when power is restored.
  4. Keep the fridge closed so food will last longer while the power is off. A freezer will usually keep food frozen for up to 24 hours without power.
  5. Turn appliances off. Make sure elements on your stove, the kettle, and all heaters are turned off. This ensures they don't come back on without you noticing when the power supply is restored.
  6. Don't touch or use any electrical appliances while barefoot in damp or wet conditions.
  7. If you go out, be aware that streetlights and traffic lights may not be working.
  8. Don't go near any damaged power lines and electrical equipment - stay at least ten metres away.


4. RESIDENTIAL SERVICE STANDARDS

We have set service standards which apply in normal weather conditions on our electricity network. In extreme weather conditions or major adverse events outside our control, the usual service standards do not apply, although every effort is made to restore supply as quickly as possible.

Our service standards cover:
•The time we take to restore power
•The number of interruptions they may experience
•The power quality you can expect

Our residential service standards are detailed in this brochure. Please call us on 0508 VECTOR (832 867) or email us if you have any questions.

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WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED

We provide three free non-network call outs per year to residential consumers. This means that if you call us to report an outage and the issue is found to be on your lines or equipment, we won't charge you for the call out. We’ll make sure the line is safe and you’ll need to arrange your own repairs. After three non-network call outs within a year, a call out charge may apply.

YOUR EXPERIENCE IS IMPORTANT TO US

We are committed to providing a reliable and efficient network by resolving issues quickly and to everyone's satisfaction. The process we follow is outlined in our dispute resolution process so you can see the steps we take to reach an outcome.

SERVICE STANDARD FAQS

How do I know what type of consumer I am?

Residential consumers have a connection that is used or intended for occupation mainly as a place of residence and will be on a residential tariff.

 

Why do our service standards differ by location - CBD, Rural and Urban?

Our service standards recognise that different parts of our network experience different problems and recovery times. For example, tree interference and weather related damage are more prevalent in rural than urban areas. Similarly, restoration times for faults differ depending on factors such as the remoteness of the location and traffic congestion.

 

How do we calculate the duration of an outage?
For High Voltage (HV) outages our system control notes the time an HV fault occurs (or the time at which system control is notified of an HV outage) and the time at which the power is restored to all transformers affected by that HV outage.

For Low Voltage (LV) outages, our call centre logs the outage at the time the first consumer notifies us. Our field crew provide regular updates and advise [our call centre] as soon as the power is restored. The duration of an outage is calculated as the difference between these two times.

How do we calculate outage frequency?
We maintain a database of HV outage incidents, and records all reported LV outage incidents.

How do we measure power quality?
We operate a number of power quality meters distributed around the network, which provide power quality information. To obtain information on power quality for a specific site, we can either estimate the power quality levels by modelling waveform data, or install temporary power quality meters on that site.

5. Gas Outages

 
To report a gas outage, please call us on 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867). During an outage, you should turn off all appliances that use gas such as your stove and heaters.
 
If you have a gas hot water heater, you should turn that off as well. This ensures they don't come back on without you noticing when the gas supply is restored.
 
When you have been advised by one of our representatives that the gas supply has been restored, you should relight all pilots, including pilots on hot water heaters.