Does New Zealand get many power cuts?
In recent years there have been some widely reported power cuts due to generation and weather factors which meant the demand on the national power grid caused some power cuts. These large-scale cuts are rare, and most NZ power cuts are localised to suburbs, streets or homes. Most power cuts are part of scheduled maintenance, but in periods of storms or bad weather, there’s often a bigger chance of damage requiring reactive maintenance.
New Zealand’s generation is around 85% renewable - so geothermal, wind, hydroelectric and solar. This is a sustainable, future-focused approach to power generation, but every now and again environmental factors reduce the amount of potential energy to generate through water, wind and sun. Generation and transmission infrastructure is continually being worked on, and some methods of generation lend themselves well to ‘storage’ at scale - the best example being hydro power with dam technology. At the individual house level, some NZ homes are well suited to solar power. If homeowners wish, they can include a battery as part of their solar energy solution, storing this for when it’s needed. This can be an advantage during a power cut, although solar isn’t for everyone. Read more about solar energy here.
If you or a member of your household relies upon electricity to power medical equipment, it’s crucial that you’ve got a back-up plan in place. You will also want to inform your power provider / retailer who will be able to assist. And if you’re contacted by the lines company about a scheduled maintenance, it may be a good idea to contact them as well to get more information and plan accordingly. You can get more information about being prepared with medical equipment and power in our dedicated page here.
Being prepared for power outages isn’t just a matter of working with your power company. You’ll want to speak with your health provider, equipment provider and family members about the best back up plan. Some equipment offers internal battery power. For longer power cuts a generator may be required. It’s always a good idea to inform the lines company that contacts you about a scheduled shut off that you’ve got this issue to contend with. For unforeseen blackouts from lines damage or weather, energy back up plans are essential.
If you’re not sure whether your power cut is related to something on your property, or a cut broadly in your area, you can give us a call 0800 462 668. If you’re reasonably confident this is a power cut affecting your neighbours as well, you can reach your regional lines company who can give an update on the issue and time to resolution.