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Vector must pay $50 credit to 230,000 households

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Friday 14 July 2006

Vector must payout $50 credit to 230,000 households

"It's an outrage that Vector is still claiming the Auckland power black-out was an Act of God and won't pay out residents a guaranteed $50 credit, given an independent report out this week, a previous report, and the Energy Minister all conclude Transpower's poor maintenance was the primary blame," says head of the Newmarket Business Association, Cameron Brewer.

Mr Brewer, Newmarket's employed advocate, is calling on the Newmarket-based electricity lines company to do the honourable thing and pay out its 230,000 customers who are guaranteed by Vector a $50 credit for power failures longer than two and a half hours.

"We now all accept, including the Minister, that bad maintenance not bad weather was to blame. But Vector is refusing to budge, and continues to hide behind the bad weather and extreme events excuse. There was nothing extreme or beyond anyone's control. Everyone in New Zealand now accepts it was 100 percent preventable. Vector now needs to do the right thing and simply deliver on its promise."

"The Connell Wagner report out this week, backs up the earlier Sinclair Knight Merz report that blame lies around critical weaknesses within Transpower's maintenance programme."

Last night the Minister, David Parker, on Larry William's Sky TV show again articulated his disappointment with Transpower, reiterating the preventable nature of the $70 million failure.

Mr Brewer said its important to note that on 12 June the severely corroded D-shackles holding an earthing wire at Otahuhu station failed in winds of 86 km/h, despite expectations they should be able to withstand gusts of up to 140 km/h.

"Vector is still telling its customers that this was an Act of God, but this week it was confirmed independently that the failure was caused by nothing more than Transpower's neglect to maintain.

"For sure its not Vector's fault but it's definitely not the weather's. For the sake of its own public relations, Vector should first and foremost deliver on its customer promise, and then take Transpower to task and seek reimbursement.

"Vector won't like hearing from the local business association that it should deliver on its $50 promise to 230,000 Auckland households. However it's the right thing to do given all the evidence that now clearly stacks up against Vector's Act of God argument," said Mr Brewer.

ENDS

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