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Steady progress to get power back on

Orion snowstorm response
4.30pm, Tuesday 16 August 2011

Steady progress to get power back on

Orion crews have made steady progress restoring power to customers in rural areas south and south-west of Christchurch today. About 400 customers are currently without power, mainly in the Leeston, Southbridge and Brookside areas. This number has decreased from about 1000 this morning.

Orion expects to get power back on to most of these customers by nightfall, however customers who do not have power at 5pm should plan for a night without power, says Orion General Manager Commercial Rob Jamieson.

Orion crews were able to reconnect hundreds of customers this afternoon, however more snow-related overhead line issues caused further power cuts mid-afternoon in the Leeston and Southbridge areas - keeping the number of customers affected at a steady 400.

Mr Jamieson says that while excellent progress was made to reconnect customers, further faults due to the continual bad weather have been a frustrating set-back.

"Due to the impact of the storm, our rural network in the south and south-west of Christchurch is reasonably fragile. We're doing everything we can to repair damage and reroute power supply through undamaged circuits. We ask customers to please be patient as we work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible," Mr Jamieson says.

Access continues to be difficult for work crews in some areas due to heavy snow. Orion is monitoring the weather forecast closely, and crews hope to gain access to badly affected areas within the next 24 hours as conditions improve.

Heavy snowfalls in Christchurch's quake-hit eastern suburbs in the past two days have caused only minimal power interruptions, with the new 66,000 volt overhead lines in New Brighton and Dallington again performing well to keep the power on.

If your power is off please contact Orion on 03 363 9898. Contact friends or family for help where necessary.

The Orion website gives details of current power outages, including areas affected and estimates for power restoration - see www.oriongroup.co.nz/outages.aspx. Orion also uses Twitter to send updates about the power supply situation in Christchurch and central Canterbury - see www.twitter.com/OrionNZ

Unless the situation changes significantly, Orion's next update will be at 7.30pm.


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