13 Sep 2013

Many Selwyn customers remain without power

12:46 pm on 13 September 2013

The Canterbury lines company, Orion, says hundreds of its customers in the Selwyn District will still be without power on Monday, because of damage to a substation.

Orion reconnected 2000 more properties to the grid, mostly in rural areas, on Thursday night but hundreds of properties in its Selwyn district, and customers of other companies in the lower North Island were still without power on Friday morning in Taranaki, Wairarapa, Tararua and Manawatu.

Federated Farmers has plugged some of the generation gap in coming to the rescue of Canterbury dairy farmers unable to milk their cows.

The federation put out a call on Wednesday for generators to help farmers who had lost their power as a result of the violent wind storm the day before, which meant they couldn't run their milking sheds or pump water for livestock.

Generator generosity

The call worked. National dairy farmers chair Willy Leferink said by Thursday, they had more generators on offer than farmers still needing them.

He said more dairy farmers are installing generators as an emergency back up for milking and water supply.

North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Doug Archbold is reinforcing the need for that.

He said he's aware of one farm with two sheds and 1200 - 1500 cows that does not have a generator and that could be $20 million of investment.

Mr Archbold said he's taken aback that they would not spend up to $30,000 to get a generator, or they could even go halves with their neighbour.

He said it's been a good season in terms of price and perhaps those who sell generators would be wise to send a flyer out to dairy farmers.

Mr Archbold said he was surprised at the number sheep and beef farmers caught in the big June snow fall who had emergency generators.

Mr Leferink agrees that dairy farmers getting a big milk payout this season should consider putting a decent-sized generator on their Christmas shopping list.

The rural insurer FMG expected to have more than a thousand claims by the end of Friday for wind-related damage.

FMG's general manager of insurance Conrad Wilkshire, said he expected a total of $10 million worth of claims, about half of that for wrecked or damaged pivot irrigators in Canterbury.

The industry body Irrigation New Zealand has asked the Government to issue temporary work visas to bring in specialist irrigation installers from overseas to repair the damage to an estimated 800 irrigators.