About faults and power issues

If your area is not listed on our current and planned outage page, please contact our System Control team on 0800 808 587.

Types of power issues

Power problems relating to the quality of electricity supply can involve many aspects of the electricity network, from the type and condition of the power lines, to the lack of transformer capacity.

Typical symptoms are:

  • Lights changing in brightness when appliances switch on or off
  • Lights generally dim
  • Light bulbs frequently ‘blowing’
  • Computers restarting/crashing
  • Problems with cooking equipment e.g. slow cooking
  • Electric motors or equipment having trouble starting/unexpected tripping, or overload systems shutting them down unexpectedly
  • Equipment slowing down

This is sometimes called voltage problems and can involve many aspects of the electricity network; such as the type and condition of the power lines, or other electricity network equipment.

If you have concerns about the quality of your supply, it is helpful to document as much information as possible, to help our staff investigate the problem.

Please note that sometimes it can be difficult to identify the cause of the problem quickly. In some cases, problems can be attributed to more than one issue on the network or possibly on the customer’s own electrical wiring or equipment.

All problems are initially treated as a fault and should be referred to our system control team who will dispatch a PowerNet faults team to investigate. In many cases when they visit they will locate and fix the problem.

If the problem cannot be immediately rectified, it will be passed to a PowerNet engineer who will contact you and begin an in-depth investigation.

Got questions about power issues?  Scroll to the FAQ section below.



What is PowerNet doing to restore your power or fix your fault?

During times when the power goes out around our Southern Region, PowerNet’s System Control can often be inundated with phone calls from customers reporting their outage or a fault. In many cases we are already aware of the problem and have a restoration plan in action. However, we do appreciate those first calls that assist us in identifying which areas are affected.

Our main goal is to work as safely as possible to restore power for you as quickly as possible. Given the large volume of calls we receive, occasionally it may be difficult to speak with you directly. Our phone system is programmed to provide callers with the current power outages and restoration information; this will allow you to hang up with your call purpose satisfied.

The phone system is automatically updated as faults are registered so if there is no reported fault in your area and you are experiencing a power outage, or more importantly may have a problem that is threatening a life or property you need to stay on the line and speak to one of our System Control team.

We have a 24/7 faults service to electricity customers in Southland, West Otago, Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Stewart Island.

Report or receive outage notifications can also be via your Smartphone. Setting up notifications will keep you up to date with current faults and allow you to report a fault.

What do I do if I have new information about my power outage?

Give our system control team a call on 0800 808 587.

It's been over two hours and I'm still without power, what do I do?

Give our system control team a call on 0800 808 587.

What are the principle types of power outages or faults?

Power Outages:

  • Complete loss of supply is when all lights and power at the wall sockets in your premises are off

Fault causes:

  • “Brown Out” or “Dim Lights”
  • The power is on, but there is no hot water
What can cause a complete loss of power supply?

The loss of electricity supply can be caused by any number of events, from a vehicle hitting a pole, to lightning strikes, trees falling over the power lines, or even vandalism. Always treat the lines as live and do not approach. Keep a safe distance and phone our system control team.

Is the power out just at my property?

In most cases of residential and commercial power supply you will be on a common line with your neighbours. Check to see if your neighbours have their lights on or if the street lights are working.

If the houses next door, or down the street do have power then the chances are that the problem will be isolated to your house. This could simply mean a blown fuse or in the worst case your supply line from the street has broken. We recommend you turn off or unplug all electrical appliances to avoid the possibility of fire when supply is restored then call our system control team.

If you can see what has caused the loss of supply, e.g. a tree branch has fallen down over the wires, or you have a problem that affects life or property please treat the lines as live and do not approach. Keep a safe distance and phone our system control team.

Otherwise rest assured we will be working as fast as possible to restore your supply.

What are 'brown out' or 'Dim lights'?

Some of the lights and power at the wall sockets in your premises are off or lights are dim or flickering. Generally, the cause of these types are when a single phase on the supply network is lost, or the demand for electricity in your area temporarily exceeds supply.

My power is out, what should I do around my property?

Turn off or unplug all electrical appliances, leave one light switched on (not a fluorescent) which will let you know when the power supply has been restored. This will avoid the possibility of fire when supply is restored.

My power is on but I have no hot water?

Many households have taken advantage of using “Off Peak” hot water savings. This system operates by “ripple control”, where we send a signal to your hot water system telling it to turn on and off when power is at its cheapest.

Unfortunately, on odd occasions the signal which is sent out to tell your hot water system to turn on may get interrupted. As soon as we are aware of the problem we will resend the signal and you can expect hot water again within a few hours.

What should I do?

If it hasn’t warmed up please phone your electrician, if they are unable to resolve the problem, then please contact our PowerNet system control team.

What is my service line responsibility?

Power lines and equipment inside your property boundary are known as service lines or mains. As a general rule, property owners are responsible for arranging the maintenance and repair of these lines and equipment.

If a fault occurs and is found to be on your side of the boundary, the cost of repair and possibly the call out charge will be your responsibility. In these circumstances PowerNet System Control or PowerNet’s field staff will keep in contact so that you can make informed decisions.

Current and future outages