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Why Do Power Outages Happen in NZ?

Date Jul 13, 2020
Blog category Power
By Michael Speight
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 Power outages or power cuts, also known as blackouts, are generally a rare occurrence in New Zealand but they do occur from time to time.

There are many causes for power faults and most of the reasons are out of your control but it’s good to know the reason for a potential power outage in your area.

We look at the types of power outages and the most common causes. 

Three Common Types of Power Outages:

There are commonly three types of power outages that you may experience:

1. Permanent Fault: A permanent fault is where a substantial loss of power is experienced due to a fault in the power line. The fault needs to be cleared by technicians for power to be restored.

2. Brownout: A brownout is the least known type of power outage out of the three mentioned here. A brownout occurs when there is a drop of voltage in an electrical power supply. Brownouts can cause electrically powered equipment to perform poorly. Examples can include when you see the lights dim unexpectedly or your hairdryer slowing down.

3. Blackout: A blackout is one of the most commonly known types of power outages and is the worst to experience. A blackout occurs when there is a complete loss of power to an area. Blackouts that are a result of a fault at the power station can be very damaging and will take time for technicians to respond to. The span of a blackout can last from a few minutes to days and even weeks if serious.

What Causes a Power Outage?

Power outages can be due to a number of reasons. Quite often they occur because of external causes outside of the power provider’s control. You can categorise outage causes based on the following:

1. Weather related issues: The weather can play an influential role in power outages. In colder regions, ice and snowfall can cause serious damage to external power lines. The Bay of Plenty region has been recently hit with severe weather, causing flooding which has impacted the local power grids. Windy weather can also cause branches and other items to hit power line equipment, which can result in power outages. Overall, the weather is one of the common causes of power outages due to both its direct and indirect effects. 

2. Car accidents: We see it in the news from time to time where a truck or a car hits a power line and that evidently can cause a power cut to an area. 

3. Animals: Animals can cause damage to equipment and have an effect on power lines and other equipment that are vital to electrical networks. 

4. Planned outages: In some situations, power companies have no choice but to purposely have a planned outage. This could be due to maintenance that needs to conducted on parts of the electrical network.

Who’s to Blame for a Power Outage?

There are a number of different causes for a power outage. Sometimes the fault lies with the power company and sometimes accidents just happen.

When an outage does occur, you want to be partnered with an electricity provider that can quickly get you back up and running. Curious about which power companies operate in your area?

Find out what options are available and compare power companies on glimp.

We also have a free online tool to help you compare electricity prices NZ wide!

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