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Northpower urges safety around electricity assets


Northpower Limited is urging people to take more safety precautions around powerlines before someone is seriously injured or killed.

The warning follows three power outages caused by members of the public hitting powerlines and comes just a week after Far North lines company Top Energy issued a similar warning following a number of incidents around electricity assets.

Northpower and Top Energy both charge for damage to their electricity assets.

Northpower Electricity Operations Manager Aaron Mears says ongoing incidents are creating serious public safety risks.

Two of the recent outages on the Northpower Network were caused by a forestry contractor striking 33,000 volt lines twice in one day.

“The strikes caused outages to more than 2000 customers at Parua Bay, Whangarei Heads and Pataua North, initially for 22 minutes and again later in the day for 83 minutes,” says Mr Mears.

Only this week a house moving company took down an 11,000 volt Northpower line on State Highway 1 near Yovich Rd at Mata.

In April there were two incidents where trucks took down powerlines one in Kiripaka Rd, Tikipunga, and another in Abbey Caves Road.

This year alone Northpower has had to repair damage to 32 vehicle versus power pole accidents, compared to 21 in 2017 - another ongoing challenge for the company.

“We are really concerned people are not paying enough attention to their surroundings and the danger of electricity. Let’s face it, it only takes a momentary lapse in concentration and someone could be severely injured or killed and we don’t want that.

“We are pleading with people to be far more cautious around Northpower’s electricity network in Kaipara and Whangarei but also to call our faults line on 0800-10-40-40 to report strikes or near misses immediately – especially when they are aware that it has happened.

“We realise accidents happen but it is disappointing when carelessness causes inconvenience to other people on our network and other people have to foot the bill. There is just no excuse for that. And if people are unsure about anything, we’d much prefer they take a conservative approach, down tools and talk to us.’

Mr Mears hopes recently publicity will encourage people to take more care and stop others acting dangerously.

In June, Northpower and Top Energy will launch their third public safety awareness campaign for 2018.

“There is plenty of safety advice on the Northpower and Top Energy websites and I would encourage people to check them and take a common sense approach when working around electricity assets.”

ends

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