Overnight power outages 'not good enough' - Ardern

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says thousands of people being plunged into darkness last night  because there was not enough power "was not good enough".

Homes from Whangārei to Wellington lost power amid freezing temperatures as not enough power had been generated to meet the evening peak, national grid operator Transpower said.

Ardern said the "critical question" was whether there was generation there which somehow wasn't used.  

"We cannot hand on heart say right now that all of the generation that could have come online, did come online and that is a critical question," she said.

"There may still be a case that it could have been prevented. We need to know as quickly as possible whether that was the case, because that means we can target our solution.

"It was not good enough, even if it was a peak on an extremely cold night. It’s not good enough we weren’t able to warm our homes."

Minister of Energy and Resources, Megan Woods, said she had met with Transpower and the Electricity Authority earlier this morning and put a series of questions to them.  

She put a number to the country's record demand last night — 7100 megawatts —and pointed out demand on a very cold winter's night is normally is 6000-7000mw. 

"Nevertheless, New Zealanders have a right to expect that on a cold night, that the power will be able to stay on and they’ll be able to light and heat themselves."

Echoing Ardern, Woods added: "What we want to know is that everything that could have been generated was being generated."

She said her questions involved why Genesis had not brought on its third rankine at Huntly yesterday, why 100mw of capacity was lost from the Tokaanu hydroelectricity power station due to a "weed problem", and why the HVDC cable between the islands was only operating at 50 per cent capacity. 

Woods said the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was now the "coordinating authority" on answers to her questions, in order to ensure Kiwis' can use their power.

Jacinda Ardern says the August 9 power outages weren't good enough.

"This is not something we find acceptable and serious questions need to be asked."

Earlier today, Transpower's general manager of operations, Stephen Jay, apologised for the outages .

"Firstly, I apologise to anyone who lost power last night. Certainly it’s not good getting home and not being able to cook your dinner or keep your house warm, even if it’s for a short period of time."

Jay said it is a "very, very rare occurrence" for generation to fall short of demand.