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Lights out for Masterton streets

Some Masterton residents look set to remain in the dark about when malfunctioning street lights in their neighbourhoods will be fixed, with no time frame set for repairs, although others have now been restored.

Earlier this week, Masterton District Council [MDC] issued a statement acknowledging widespread street light outages in parts of town after residents complained.

An MDC spokesperson yesterday confirmed the following areas had experienced the problem; Cornwall St, Solway to Queen St, Oxford St, Chapel St, Harley St, South Belt, South Rd, Betts Avenue, Devon St, Vivian St, Manaia Rd, Lower Perry St, Coradine St, Lincoln Rd to Villa St, Short St, and Ranfurly St.

Most street light issues had since been fixed, except on Oxford St, Short St, and Ranfurly St.

The power supply issues are understood to be limited to the street light network only, and not individual homes or businesses.

Karen Wilson was one of those affected, first noticing the darkened streets coming home one evening over the Easter weekend.

“It was pitch black. I was incredulous this was happening in New Zealand. You expect it in some countries, but not here,” she said.

“I’m wondering what is going on because it’s been some time. You would have expected it to have been fixed by now.”

The statement from MDC said the council was working with power supplier Mercury to address the problem.

Outages had been reported by residents from across Masterton, particularly the Solway area.

MDC roading services manager Kaine Jaquiery said there was not an issue with the lights themselves but with the power network, and MDC had been liaising with the supplier to investigate and repair the faults.

Jaquiery said while the fault had been reported, MDC had not been given a time frame for remedial work.

“All network faults we have been notified of have been passed to our retailer by our customer service team to be addressed. While we haven’t received any updates from them or Powerco, we are hopeful this work can be addressed as quickly as possible,” he said.

A spokesperson for Mercury said Powerco is responsible for dealing with the issue.

“We understand and empathise with residents’ concerns regarding street light issues and have been working closely with Masterton District Council and Powerco to ensure these are addressed as quickly as possible,” they said.

“Mercury’s role in this has been to pass residents’ outage reports that we receive [from the council and directly] to Powerco – who operate the streetlight network – to address. Powerco is best placed to advise on the status of these.”

A Powerco spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the energy company was working with Mercury and MDC to resolve the issue.

“Crews will continue investigating those outages this evening,” they said.

Powerco head of network operations Caz Haydon said investigations into the exact cause of the street light outages, and whether they were connected, were underway.

“We know customers rely on street lights for safety and that street light outages – especially repeated ones – are concerning and frustrating,” she said.

“We’re working closely with the local council and energy retailer to understand and resolve the issues and, in the meantime, our crews will continue to attend and repair any street light outages as they are reported to us.”

Haydon thanked customers for their patience.

A Powerco statement said councils own and manage the maintenance for local street lights, and customers should report any faults affecting street lights directly to the council, which would then engage their street light contractor to investigate the fault.

“If the fault is found to be with the power supply or control systems, Powerco will be called to repair the issue,” they said.

Outages impacting street lights do not appear on Powerco’s online outage map, which only shows planned and unplanned outages that impact properties.

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