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Large pieces of plastic wrapped around a pylon and power lines in Neavesville Rd, Puriri. Photo: GLENN RAMSEY

Plastic causes power cut

A power outage caused by plastic from a market garden tangled in a transmission line in Puriri meant residents, health care centres, and schools were without electricity for four hours last week.
According to Transpower, the owners and operators of New Zealand’s National Grid, the plastic was a hazard “that could cause a fire or unexpected electricity outage”.
It meant turning off the power from 10am-2pm on March 16 to remove the plastic safely.
Impacted areas were far-reaching: from Matatoki, Thames, Whitianga, Tairua, Kerepēhi, and Coromandel.
The outage caused businesses to close and delays for Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki’s Whānau Health Centres across the Thames Valley and Coromandel Peninsula, while some schools, including Waitakaruru and Thames High, had to send their students home.
However, a Waitakaruru School post to social media said there was a silver lining to the power outage. “It was a great opportunity to test our communication techniques with no internet or landline. We discovered our school phones are digital so do not work without power.”
The school has since put a call out for a landline phone that could be donated for use in emergencies such as the mid-week power cut.