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Power outagesNote: This information is intended as general advice only and may not account for your unique circumstances such as usage habits, home and power provider. Please talk to your lines company for specific information.

Losing power can happen for heaps of reasons in New Zealand, some we’re ready for and others some seem to come out of nowhere! So, if you’re keen to learn a bit about when and why power gets turned off, this is the guide for you.

In this Power Outage resource, you'll learn things like:

  • How to stay warm overnight when the electricity goes off
  • What you need to get a kit together ready for potential outages.
  • How to get information and resolution to power cuts.

My power is gone right now!

Okay - first thing to is find your lines company’s contact details to confirm what’s going on. You can find your lines company in our faults and outages page.

As much as we’d like to give you a timeframe on a power cut, the reality is that the duration of these varies so much depending on the issue. If you’ve had damage to local lines infrastructure, the maintenance on this could take a while. Otherwise, there might be a fault in the lines or transmission equipment needing attention. The best course of action is to get informed on the status, then ensure the household is able to be illuminated, warm and fed!

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.

Medical needs and power cuts

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.

Are you a Powershop customer and have a power cut right now?

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.

Downloadable Resources

Other resources you may be interested in

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