Transpower identifies most likely cause of Northland power outage

28 November 2019

Transpower has identified birds as the most likely cause of yesterday morning’s outage that affected much of Northland.

Grid Delivery General Manager Mark Ryall said a visual inspection of Transpower’s assets showed bird excrement as the most likely culprit for the line tripping.

“The tower where the fault occurred is near tributaries that feed the Topuni River, an area where large water birds live. Unfortunately, our towers provide an ideal space for them to perch which can interfere with our equipment.”

Mr Ryall said an extensive investigation commenced immediately following the outage to identify the cause.

“Our priority is always to ensure all people are safe and restore power to communities. 

“Once the power supply was returned to Northpower and Top Energy, we dispatched a helicopter to check the lines between Huapai and Marsden while crews were redirected to the affected substations.

“Analysis by our protection engineers narrowed the likely location of the fault down to ten towers, near Kaiwaka. We sent crews to those towers this morning and their investigation led us to conclude that the most likely cause was birds.”

Mr Ryall said it was important to identify the cause of the outage as soon as possible to identify what actions could be taken to minimise the risk of this happening again.

“We will be installing bird deterrents in the area immediately. Unfortunately, birds are always a risk to our network and we already have work underway that aims to identify new innovative solutions to tackle this issue.

“We apologise once again for this disruption to households and businesses in the region.”

Mr Ryall said the deferred maintenance work would be rescheduled.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick O’Meara Senior Corporate Communications Advisor on 04 590 8626 or 027 491 6341