Police continue to investigate cause of Northland power outage

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Police are investigating the use of a firearm they believe was the cause of a major power outage in Northland today. Bullet casings were found at the base of three transmission towers at Transpower's substation in Taipa, leaving thousands of households and businesses without power.

It's the only store in Kaikohe today with power and the ability to provide the public with access to money.

Local New World Supermarket owner Eric Rush says, "We've got a generator but it runs on diesel and all the gas stations are shut so we've ringing up all the engineering guys the farmers the rentals in Okaihau and everyone's been SD engineering they've been all giving us diesel.  We gotta pay it back obviously and all the speedway guys in Kaikohe we've raided their container already for all their diesel so it's been a real community effort to keep this place open and it's not just us."

In the early hours of this morning, the power was cut to 32,000 customers from Kaikohe to Cape Reinga.  Transpower suspects it's a case of vandalism.

Chief Executive of Transpower, Alison Andrew says, "We suspect that the insulators were shot out and the reason is we've found some cartridges at the bottom of the tower. It's very unusual for us to lose all the insulators in a stack. Lightning can cause this damage but we suspect it was from people shooting the insulators the glass insulators."

This is how it was across the far north today. Despite all the interruptions from the power cut it was still business as usual.

Cafe Malaahi worker TS Mayer says, "We've got instant coffee. We're being quite entrepreneurial today with a bit of kiwi ingenuity."

This afternoon power was being restored to some communities while police investigations continue.

Andrew says, "We're encouraging people who are medically dependent or need access to power to make sure they're in touch with their retailer or medical practitioner. We're doing our best at the moment to restore power safely and as fast as we can so people get power back on."