The month of September saw more unplanned outages affecting Normandale than in recent memory, so we’re keen to share with you what caused them and what we’re doing about it.
The primary cause of each of the five recent outages has been the high winds. The most recent, on 2 October, was the result of tree branches hitting lines. The others either involved tangled/clashing power lines or were likely to be tree branch strikes which could not be located. To address the risk of further outages, our teams have already completed the following work:
• Patrolled the lines to identify any areas requiring attention. This is in addition to our routine inspections, with an increased focus on areas more likely to be impacted by high winds.
• Widened crossarms at multiple locations. These are the horizontal beams at the top of each pole that hold up our lines. By widening the crossarms, it means that the lines are less likely to clash.
• Re-tensioned lines at multiple locations so that they swing in unison rather than at different rates (this also helps prevent them from clashing in high winds).
• Emergency tree trimming in places where we deemed the trees to pose an immediate hazard (additional trimming is also planned over the course of the next few days).
• Undertook a rapid response vegetation survey to identify further trees that pose a risk to our electricity network.
Our next step is to issue cut or trim notices to property owners whose trees are too close to our power lines. If you receive a notice, please make sure you comply – but DO NOT attempt to trim the tree(s) yourself. Only use an approved arborist (authorised by us); a list of which can be found on our website at https://www.welectricity.co.nz/safety/keeping-trees-trimmed/.
Thank you again for your patience. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to email us at we_CustomerService@welectricity.co.nz.