Transpower says outages to thousands were 'certainly not good'

Source: 1News

Transpower's general manager of operations has refused to lay blame just yet after thousands of properties were plunged into darkness last night because there was not enough power.

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

Stephen Jay fronted on Breakfast to explain why people were left out in the cold by their distribution companies, but faced a lot of heat from John Campbell on the issue. 

"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 opened.

Jay said it is not Transpower's job to ensure enough power was generated. It's job is to "basically dispatch the generation". 

But he refused to be drawn on who was at fault and where the buck stops, stating Transpower would be working with the industry to determine why there was insufficient generation to meet demand. 

This would be done tomorrow, Jay said, which may be cold comfort to those who lost power and want an explanation. 

Jay explained Transpower produced its regular demand forecast, which went out a day ahead of the incident, but what was generated somehow fell short. 

However, he did say it is a "very, very rare occurrence".

Both Campbell and Jay turned to a Bunnings sausage sizzle to illustrate their points.

"If you’re turning up to Bunnings and you’re expecting 200 people to turn up and eat sausages, you advise your suppliers you need 200 sausages ... but if those sausages don’t turn up, you’ve then got a few hungry people," Jay said.

"That’s the situation we faced last night, where we didn’t have sausages."

Jay reiterated it was "too early" to blame anyone. 

"I wouldn’t like to blame anyone until we’ve looked into why there was insufficient generation. It’s too early. This event happened last night ... It’s a very rare event," Jay said.

"If that’s [generation] insufficient, we have to take controlled measures to make sure the rest of the lights stay on and it’s really unfortunate that a few people ended up having to be cut off for a short period of time just to manage that situation."

John Campbell interviewed Transpower’s Stephen Jay the morning after rolling power outages in the North Island.