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Snow cuts power to some rural areas in central Canterbury

Heavy snow cuts power to some rural areas in central Canterbury

Heavy snow has caused power outages for about 1000 customers in rural central Canterbury overnight, in areas including Rakaia, Westmelton, Leeston and Greendale.

Orion crews are now working to assess the damage to overhead lines caused by the snow, and started a patrol of the network in affected areas at first light. Orion General Manager Commercial Rob Jamieson says trees and branches falling on overhead lines appears to have been the major cause of power outages. "We won't be able to give an accurate estimate of power restoration for those customers currently without power, until our crews have fully assessed the damage this morning. This assessment is dependent on our crew's ability to access areas affected by heavy snow - the safety of our crews has to take priority," Mr Jamieson says.

Orion reminds people in Christchurch and central Canterbury to keep off the roads as much as possible today, to allow crews to get through on the roads safely and quickly to restore power.

The Orion network in Christchurch city appears to have performed well overnight, with only small pockets of customers affected by isolated power outages in the city. Power has been restored to those customers. If your power is off please contact Orion on 03 363 9898. Contact friends or family for help where necessary, or call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 for assistance and advice.

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

Unless the situation changes significantly, Orion's next update will be at 11.30am.

ENDS

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