Power cut, birds blamed

Birds coming into contact with a network caused a section of Te Anau to lose power last week. Photo: Sue Mcmurtrie

BIRDS tampering with a network were the cause of a “massive boom” that left an area of Te Anau without power last week.

Te Anau Signs owner Sue McMurtrie said she was halfway through an email when she heard the explosion about 10am on Wednesday near Sandy Brown and Caswell Rds.

What followed was an awful smell, similar to burning plastic, which permeated throughout the area.

“There was this really loud bang and then the power went.

“A customer pulled up the driveway to our business and said,

Most of the buildings in the block had also lost access to power.

Straight away, she got on the phone to PowerNet to report the fault.

Staff responded promptly and the service was “outstanding”.

Her first reaction was concern for her business, which would be unable to run until power was restored.

“As long as the power is out, we’re behind.

“We’ll probably have to work late and we just can’t afford to lose a day.”

The outage was especially hard considering it was coming up to the end of the financial year and businesses were still dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 and severe weather events.

However, she acknowledged it was just one of those things.

“Accidents happen. It is what it is just got to roll with it.”

A PowerNet spokeswoman confirmed the fault was caused by a pair of birds that tampered with network equipment, causing two fuses to blow.

The outage affected 25 network customers for about an hour before power was returned to properties about 11am.

Unfortunately, the birds did not survive the event.