City transformed as weakness of supply highlighted

EDITORIAL

The big blackout which saw 40,000 people without power for the greater part of two days has highlighted again the weakness of having only one source of supply for the district.

The most important thing above all is this is a personal tragedy for the families and loved ones of the two men who lost their lives on Monday morning, and Farmers Air, the highly-respected local company that employed them. None of the inconvenience suffered by the district’s electricity consumers begins to match what they have to endure.

It seemed inconceivable on a bright Monday morning that the district was going to be out of power for one to two days. The days when “power cuts” were a regular occurrence are remembered now only by older residents. So much more now depends on a power source for all forms of commerce. One of these of course is the Gisborne Herald which was unable to publish on two consecutive days for the first time since it launched in 1874.

Gladstone Road was transformed within minutes from a busy pre-Christmas shopping scene to a ghost town. Some main street businesses did try to stay open using natural light but it was not possible for the majority. Hopefully the financial loss they incurred can be made up in the remaining days to Christmas.

Out in the community hundreds of portable barbecues were switched on to provide not only a meal but the chance to boil water. The value of a smart phone was strongly highlighted for keeping in touch with the world.

The district’s competent civil defence organisation, seasoned by floods and earthquakes, coped seamlessly and police wisely put on extra patrols.

The lights came on in the city just before 6pm yesterday, a tribute to the hard work of Eastland Energy staff, carried out in testing weather conditions.

It is no fault of theirs that the district is connected by only one major transmission line which was identified as our biggest Achilles heel decades ago.

Overcoming this would be a challenging and extremely expensive process but it is time to at least review the situation.

The big blackout which saw 40,000 people without power for the greater part of two days has highlighted again the weakness of having only one source of supply for the district.

The most important thing above all is this is a personal tragedy for the families and loved ones of the two men who lost their lives on Monday morning, and Farmers Air, the highly-respected local company that employed them. None of the inconvenience suffered by the district’s electricity consumers begins to match what they have to endure.

It seemed inconceivable on a bright Monday morning that the district was going to be out of power for one to two days. The days when “power cuts” were a regular occurrence are remembered now only by older residents. So much more now depends on a power source for all forms of commerce. One of these of course is the Gisborne Herald which was unable to publish on two consecutive days for the first time since it launched in 1874.

Gladstone Road was transformed within minutes from a busy pre-Christmas shopping scene to a ghost town. Some main street businesses did try to stay open using natural light but it was not possible for the majority. Hopefully the financial loss they incurred can be made up in the remaining days to Christmas.

Out in the community hundreds of portable barbecues were switched on to provide not only a meal but the chance to boil water. The value of a smart phone was strongly highlighted for keeping in touch with the world.

The district’s competent civil defence organisation, seasoned by floods and earthquakes, coped seamlessly and police wisely put on extra patrols.

The lights came on in the city just before 6pm yesterday, a tribute to the hard work of Eastland Energy staff, carried out in testing weather conditions.

It is no fault of theirs that the district is connected by only one major transmission line which was identified as our biggest Achilles heel decades ago.

Overcoming this would be a challenging and extremely expensive process but it is time to at least review the situation.

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