Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Big Night Outage

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  • Deborah,

    I'm down in Wellington (Parliament is sitting) so I've been relying on friends, family and FB for updates on where there's power, or not. My husband txted on Tuesday evening at about 9pm to tell me the power had gone out. It came back on this morning at about 8.20am. So nearly 36 hours without power, and not a lot of information about when it might come back on.

    Some places in my electorate are still without power and they're not expecting to get it back until tomorrow (Friday) sometime. That seems... odd, given that it's a very urban electorate. We did seem to be right in the wind tunnel, with the winds barrelling in over the Manukau, and there were outages seemingly everywhere, so it's a huge task to get everything up and running again.

    I'm wondering a bit about the resiliency of the power network. If we are going to face more and more weird weather, we might need to be thinking about how to build a stronger network.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Scungo,

    Meanwhile in Morningside, no power, no appearance on the outage map, no ability to register the outage and no clue as to likely resolution time. The infrequent utterances from Vector ask for patience and indicate incoming weather this afternoon may slow things down. The comms and social media team at Vector need to do better.
    The ecosystem around here has stalled. The mechanic where our car was scheduled for a checkup before a school break, down country jaunt is shut down. The sewing shop that has our master bedroom curtains for alterations is shut down, thankfully wont be as cold tonight.
    Meanwhile...eating out for dinner and breakfast, and showers at powered friends. And trying not to think about what is going on in the fridge!

    Morningside • Since Jan 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    I'm wondering a bit about the resiliency of the power network. If we are going to face more and more weird weather, we might need to be thinking about how to build a stronger network.

    I think that's where the undergrounding comes in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scungo,

    Meanwhile in Morningside, no power, no appearance on the outage map, no ability to register the outage and no clue as to likely resolution time. The infrequent utterances from Vector ask for patience and indicate incoming weather this afternoon may slow things down. The comms and social media team at Vector need to do better.

    I have seen them acknowledge the outage to someone else in your neighbourhood on Twitter. But yeah, they should be able to do better than that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Someone else said they’d seen the whole North Shore go dark at once.

    I can confirm - we never once lost power in Castor Bay, so I suspect this is over stated.

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Vector update posted at 11.30am says there are still 41,000 homes to be restored.

    I wish the Herald would stop reporting these figures as 41,000 (or whatever) individuals. It's homes and businesses: the number of individuals affected will be two or three times that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scungo,

    And trying not to think about what is going on in the fridge!

    I avoided opening the fridge and freezer until last night, for obvious reasons. We seem to have got through okay there, which is a relief – it's a full freezer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From Albert-Eden local board chair Peter Haynes on Facebook:

    Was going to comment on the blog, but can’t get my password. Anyway, to be fair to John Dragicevich, since he took over Civil Defence things are looking much better. He spoke to the Local Board about a month ago, and with considerable prescience pointed out that the threat in our area is a mega storm. This week is really just a taster and timely wake-up call. Under his direction, Emergency Management (as it’s now called) is turning around towards the community and seeking to engage with the community–hence his visit to talk to us. Just yesterday we discussed the community-strengthening programmes we have as a Local Board–our Neighbours Day grants and Eco-Neighbourhoods were Albert-Eden Local Board initiatives that are now being copied elsewhere–and how we can extend supplement these to increase community resilience. We have always been conscious of the need to strengthen community linkages, as you know, and resilience has been a factor there. But I’ll admit that civil defence hasn’t been as high a priority as it might have been, as we’ve all tended to think about earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis (you’re safe in Pt Chevalier BTW). At least it should be easier to engage people now to the dangers from a much more likely mega-storm.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I avoided opening the fridge and freezer until last night, for obvious reasons. We seem to have got through okay there, which is a relief – it's a full freezer

    We didn't open the freezer until the power came back on after 18 hours off, and when I checked the ice cream it wasn't even soft. It would appear that new modern fridges can retain their cool for quite some time - I guess the drop in air temperature helped.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 605 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Emergency Management (as it’s now called) is turning around towards the community and seeking to engage with the community

    Yes, Dragecevich started that in the old Waitakere City Council. The idea is to strengthen connections within local communities before they need to be drawn upon in emergencies. Takes lots of time and effort.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19481 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    tsunamis (you’re safe in Pt Chevalier BTW).

    That seems to be a rather irresponsible statememt from the Chairmain of the local board that people living on the Meola Reef side of the peninsula would be wise to ignore

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Aucklanders, your trees need to harden up and stop falling on the powerlines!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3990 posts Report Reply

  • Eediot,

    To make matters worse I just received an app notification that power had been restored. Arrived home and it hasn’t.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    I may be mistaken but my impression is that Auckland has far more frequent and serious power outages than Wellington or Christchurch. Does anyone know if there is a reason why the distribution network is more vulnerable there? It's not unknown for Wellington to have the odd storm, and it's not unusual for there to be lines down somewhere, but nothing like this scale.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think that’s where the undergrounding comes in.

    The UFB rollout was a massive lost opportunity for undergrounding/shared ducting of services.

    On my street the Fibre is underground on 1 side of the street then run up the power poles, strung across the street, tethered to my copper phone line and run into the gable of my house, along the inside of my roof space, then down the outside of the house in a conduit, under the house and then up into the house at the point required

    If that's best practice, it's nuts

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • Eediot,

    ‪Does anyone know where to buy those reusable heat packs? (Not online) Like the ones that you use as pocket warmers but larger, table mat size.‬

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Warren Clark,

    I'm sort of an unofficial Civil Defense node for my neighborhood. I have a petrol generator and being a micro ISP for about 20ish households when things go tits up like a power cut everyone comes over to cook on the bbq/use my radio or sat phone.

    I've always felt that we should build resilience into people *and* infrastructure.

    My disaster plan is ... silly redundant.

    In the Lower Hutt. • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Nick Russell,

    A little bit of a gale and the lights on my road go out - this happens quite regularly and it usually takes a few days to fix them. But not power generally. Can't remember the last power outage in Wellington but it would have been since the Wahine storm (which at three days was the longest I can recall experiencing).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3133 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    When the Franklin Rd upgrade was being worked through Vector was the only service who wouldn’t come to the party. They said they wouldn’t underground the power. The residents politely informed them to reconsider before we launched a PR firestorm on them (having Bill and Janet in the street has advantages!). Needless to say by the time the next meeting had come around they had agreed to do the work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    Excellent story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22403 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    If that’s best practice, it’s nuts

    No, I believe 'best practice' (for Chorus at least) is to remove the copper phone lines least some crazy government try and split the copper/fibre monopoly to create some competition in local internet providers (at least they came down my street and removed all the copper after they installed the fibre)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2571 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    The supposed reason for removing the copper is because their resource consent only allows for 1 overhead connection per dwelling (copper or fibre)

    Although having said that my copper is still in place

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    They would have done this for the scrap value of copper - when I worked for the Post Office, as a technician, in the 1970s, I was told that more than 60% of the asset value of the network was in the copper wiring.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 452 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yeah sure, these are the same guys who pushed all their DSLAMs into neighbourhood boxes as soon as the govt required them to host ISP's hardware in their exchanges

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2571 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Hmm....when I was there we had suburban exchanges, communicating through the central exchange.....all electromechanical.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 452 posts Report Reply

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