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Power stays on, generates angst among business owners

Wild Oats manager Crystal Thompson hired a generator for a power cut that didn’t happen. PHOTO/FILE

PAM GRAHAM
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Businesses at the north end of Carterton spent up large to get generators in for a planned power outage this month only to find the power stayed on.

The work didn’t happen because a contractor’s truck, equipped with a linesman bucket for the pole replacement work broke down, but no one told them.

Crystal Thompson at Wild Oats Bakery-Deli-Cafe said she spent about $1000 to hire a generator and had it operating on August 9 until someone asked why – because the power was still on.

Her generator was put in the driveway of neighbour Graham Jamieson, who runs a second-hand shop, and the noise disrupted him, she said.

Powerco said the work will be now done on a second scheduled day, September 6.

Thompson said the communication was poor throughout. She was notified by her retailer that the outage would be from 9am to 3pm.

She had had to close the café a week or two before for an unplanned outage that had lasted a lot longer than expected.

“We all went home for the day that day so thought we had a notified one coming up and we’ll be ready for that.”

On the day of the planned outage she had the generator running and someone from the hairdresser came over and said “you know the power is still on”.

“I was like no, no, no and looked at the Powerco website and there were no outages.”

She said some of the affected businesses were with Genesis as a power retailer and she was with Contact and she had spent a lot of time ringing her retailer and the network company Powerco.

Powerco said when a planned outage was scheduled it notified retailers who then contacted their customers. Powerco allotted two dates and always attempted to get the work done on the first date. It had a 90 per cent completion rate with planned outage work on the first date.

Powerco said there was a complaints process available with details on its website but would not say if it would result in compensation for the businesses in Carterton.

Jamieson said he wasn’t too concerned about the planned outage because his shop had great natural lighting – “I could listen to a transistor for entertainment”.

He didn’t open his shop because of the noise from the generator for Wild Oats.

Mobil petrol station and the Workshop hired a generator and Jamieson said residents put hot water in thermoses.

“Personally, I’m unimpressed and don’t think customers should be treated like this.”

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