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Vector to Drivers: Poles Can Be Replaced, Not Lives

Vector to Drivers: Please Stay Safe, Poles Can Be Replaced, Not Lives

December 21, 2017 - As the holiday season begins, Auckland energy company Vector is wishing for fewer vehicle and power pole collisions.

In the year to December 20 there were 615 incidents where cars, trucks, tractors and construction machinery took out power poles, lines or pillars.

Vector chief network officer Andre Botha says most incidents were minor, but some involved serious harm to the driver and passengers involved, as well as causing power outages in the area.

Another issue which spikes over summer is boat masts coming into contact with power lines.

“I’ve seen some catastrophic results from this happening, so please, look up before you raise your mast.”

“These incidents always mean we have to treat the site as a safety risk to the public and our crews.

“There is a serious risk of electrocution for passengers, emergency response teams, and the public which is why we shut off power remotely and then physically disconnect lines at the site for extra safety.

“Our message is simple – please be careful. We can replace power poles but we can’t replace lives.”

Collisions with power network equipment are more common than many people realise. There were 541 such incidents in 2016 and 486 in 2015. Incidents frequently happen in daylight, in good weather, on streets with a 50km/h speed limit.

“Vector’s field service providers will be on call and ready to respond to any incidents across the holiday season, but for everyone’s sake we really hope we don’t need to.”

Car vs pole 2017 break-down:

Vehicle vs pole*: 354 incidents between 1 Jan and 20 December, 2017

Vehicle vs pillar: 261 incidents between 1 Jan and 20 December, 2017

*this includes situations where Vector was called to respond to downed telephone poles and/or lamp posts that are not Vector equipment.

When the site of a vehicle versus pole accident is de-energised and everyone is safe, crew work to replace the pole. They gradually restore power to customers in the affected area until repairs are completed and power is fully restored. On average a pole replacement takes around 6 hours but can be longer in bad weather conditions, along busy roads or where there is complex wiring and vegetation to navigate.


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