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.

NEED TO REPORT AN OUTAGE ?

The outage app is currently being rebuilt due to a vulnerability in the API layer (Application Program Interface) and upgrades following the recent storm. The API is the bridge between two data sources used in the Outage App.

Please call 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867) to report an outage.  You can also find out about outages in your area by calling the same number.

We will inform you once the outage app is relaunched with improved functionality.
 


 

 

1. STORMS

Storms can cause widespread outages affecting thousands of customers.

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.

OUTAGES

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

     

Restoring high voltage faults first


Vector owns substations (A), power poles and lines (B and C) on the electricity network that carries the electricity between the National Grid and your home. The property owner owns and is responsible for the service line between our power pole and their property.

When there is an event such as a storm that results in widespread power outages, our crews works to repair the high voltage (HV) network first. This is because on average, around 700 customers are affected by a fault on the high voltage network whereas about 60 customers are affected by a fault on the low voltage (LV) network.  

Once crews have repaired the high voltage network, they then focus repair works on the low voltage network on a suburb by suburb basis. Unfortunately, if a customer still has no power due to damage on their service line, this can only be confirmed once both high voltage and low voltage faults are resolved.

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

 WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON’T HAVE HOT WATER

During a major outage, priority will be given to restoring the main 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 (0508 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.

HOT WATER RESTORATION AFTER A STORM

There are two types of hot water networks in Auckland - the ripple relay and the pilot wire network.  The ripple relay network is remotely controlled via the low voltage (LV) electricity network whereas pilot relays are controlled via a separate pilot wire on the electricity network.

Auckland’s northern network (North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney) has a mix of both pilot wire and ripple relay for hot water, whereas the rest of Auckland only has the ripple relay system.



The diagrams below explain the difference between the two hot water systems in more detail. 

RIPPLE NETWORK FOR HOT WATER



As the ripple signal for hot water is sent down the same line as electricity, hot water won’t be available during a power outage. However, once power is restored, hot water should be available after 6 hours (the amount of time needed for a hot water tank to heat up).  If power has been restored and hot water is not available after 6 hours, then there is a fault with either the ripple relay at the meter box or with the hot water tank. If this is the case, please call your power company as they own the meter box.

PILOT NETWORK FOR HOT WATER




The hot water pilot wire is a different wire from the electricity power line as shown above.

After an outage, even when power has been restored, hot water will still not be available if there is damage to either: (a) the pilot wire (b) the service pilot wire or (c) the pilot wire relay inside the meter box.
 
Alternatively, there may be a fault with the hot water tank inside the house or a wiring fault – this can only be fixed by an electrician.

The examples below show how faults on different parts of the network can affect different properties: 
  • If a fault occurs at X1 on the power line, then all homes will have no power or hot water.
  • If a fault occurs at X2 on the pilot wire, then all homes will have power but homes 3 and 4 won’t have hot water.
  • If a fault occurs at X3 on the service pilot wire, all homes will have power but home 4 won’t have hot water.
If power has been restored and the pilot wire has been repaired and you are still without hot water, then you need to let us know by calling 0508 VECTOR (0508 832 867). 
 
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.

OUTAGES

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.

OUTAGES

WHAT TO DO DURING AN ELECTRICITY OUTAGE
Here are some handy tips to keep you safe during an outage:
  1. Report the outage 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.

OUTAGES

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.