Power Outages

We recognise outages may be difficult for some customers to manage, however our priority is ensuring we can maintain a safe, reliable, quality supply of electricity throughout the network.

In an emergency (e.g. car accident involving power lines or a transformer fire), call 111.

Call our 24-hour Faults Line 0800 30 90 80 or report an outage online
MainPower NZ Ltd
Unplanned outages

If the power's out at your place, click through for troubleshooting advice

MainPower NZ Ltd
Planned outages

If you are going to be affected by a planned outage, your electricity retailer will

send you a letter in advance so you can make other arrangements

Do you, or someone in your household, depend on electricity for Critical Electrical Medical Equipment (CEME)? Is your health or wellbeing especially vulnerable?

We recommend that you have an emergency response plan in place. We can never guarantee your power supply at all times, as unplanned outages due to unforeseen circumstances can occur. Your emergency response plan could include always having a standby battery that is fully charged and ready to use. It could also include plans to immediately relocate to another address which has electricity supply.

It's important that you register as a Medically Dependent Customer with your Electricity Retailer.

For more information on vulnerable or medically dependent customers, visit the Electricity Authority website.

A few things to check before you report your power outage:

Check the main switch is on at your switchboard

If a fuse is blown, the problem is likely in your home and you may require a call out from an electrician.

Check if your neighbours have power

If a number of houses in your area are without power or hot water, it is likely the outage is linked to a problem on our network.

Check our list of current planned outages

See if we have listed an outage for scheduled work in your area.

Power outages

We appreciate that power outages are disruptive; our staff work hard to minimise any inconvenience to customers.

MainPower carries out regular maintenance and upgrade work across North Canterbury. From time to time, you may be affected by a planned power outage. If this is the case, you will be notified ahead of time by your chosen electricity retailer.

Unplanned power outages can also occur at any time. Typical causes of unplanned power outages include stormy weather, tree branches and other debris falling on power lines, or car accidents.

Check the Power Outage Safety tab for on our safety page for advice on how to prepare for planned power outages.

Our priority is to maintain continuity of supply and to notify customers of planned interruptions in accordance with our Connection Agreement. When power supply is disrupted, either due to a planned or unplanned interruption or when disconnection is requested by the retailer or an agency other than the customer, every effort is made to ensure human life is not threatened and that legislative and regulatory requirements are met.

Outages FAQs

What should I do during a planned power outage?

If you will be affected by a planned outage, your electricity retailer will send you a letter in advance, so you can make other arrangements.

Planned outages are also listed on our website, visit the planned outages page.

What can my business do to be prepared for a power outage?

  • Check your terms and conditions with your electricity retailer - it will detail notification periods for planned electricity network outages and any compensation clauses.
  • Check your insurance provisions – how long does power need to be off before the policy covers you.
  • Have a good back up plan and ensure your staff are trained.
  • Consider the use of manual eftpos and credit card options.
  • Can your site be supplied by a generator – know your capacity requirements, connection options and generator hire contact details.
  • Have alternative locations for storage of perishable goods and freezer blankets.
  • Have back-up alternative locations to work from and phone diversions to mobiles contingency in place and when the power comes on understand what equipment needs resetting.

What should I do if I have no hot water?

After an outage, it can take up to 6 hours for a hot water cylinder to reheat once power has been restored after an outage. If you have no hot water:

  • Check that your hot water cylinder is on.
  • If your hot water cylinder is heated by gas then contact a registered plumber.
  • If your hot water cylinder is heated by electricity then please call MainPower on 0800 30 90 80.

What is ripple control?

MainPower may use ripple control at times to manage load on our network. If you have a ‘controlled circuit’ in your home it will probably be connected to your hot water cylinder. The ripple relay is used to switch water heater power off at peak times - like on cold winter nights when demand for electricity is highest and at times when faults mean less power is available in the local area.

MainPower provide a 24 hour fault response service. Please note, some fault response services may incur a cost, though this is generally only the case when the customer's property or actions have caused the fault.

Why do power outages occur?

There are two types of power outage, planned and unplanned.

Planned power outages occur when we need to complete maintenance work on the network. If you will be affected by a planned outage, you will receive a notification from your chosen electricity retailer in advance.

Unplanned power outages occur when unforeseen circumstances cause damage to the network (e.g. car accidents, tree branches or other debris being blown into power lines etc.).

Who is a priority customer?

Special consideration is given to the continuity of supply to customers whose health or livelihood could be adversely affected by an interruption. Priority customers include those who maintain essential services as well as medically dependent customers.

Customers with serious medical conditions, who rely on continuity of supply to support life, are treated as priority customers. Every effort is made to maintain continuity of supply and, if necessary, to advise them of any interruptions to supply so that alternate arrangements can be made. If you are a medically dependent customer, please ensure we are aware of your needs. You can provide this information online. Or, contact us on 0800 30 90 80.

Does MainPower control irrigator load?

Irrigators on the MainPower network may be connected to our emergency load control system. Houses, sheds etc. are not connected to the emergency load control system.

Across our network, irrigators can use a large amount of electricity. In situations where MainPower needs to decrease the load on the network, we may turn off the electricity supply to irrigators. This is to ensure continued supply across the region and only happens in extremely rare, emergency situations. If it is necessary to turn off irrigators, MainPower will try to contact affected customers, however this may not always be possible in short-notice, emergency situations.

Does MainPower charge for callouts?

MainPower provides a 24-hour fault response service. When a customer’s property or actions have caused the fault, the responsible customer will be charged a call out fee.

Call outs caused by a MainPower network fault will not incur a fee.

MainPower call out fees

  • During normal working hours (7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday)
    • $176+GST minimum for up to two hours, plus travel (charged per kilometer)
    • Additional charges will be billed for any equipment required (e.g. replacement power pole) and time exceeding the initial two hour call out period. Additional time between 7:30am-5pm will be charged at our standard rate ($88+GST per hour).
  • After-hours
    • $264+GST minimum for up to two hours, plus travel (charged per kilometer)
    • Additional charges will be billed for any equipment required (e.g. replacement power pole) and time exceeding the initial two hour call out period. Time will be charged at our after-hours rate ($132+GST per hour).

All chargeable call outs will incur a minimum fee for a two hour period (travel time inclusive). Where we are required to stand staff down as a result of attendance at a fault we reserve the right to charge a stand down fee.