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Cyclone Gabrielle

In our network area, households and businesses have been affected by power outages due to the severe impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The scale of this disaster means some people could be without power for an extended period. It will also mean supply to some areas will be provided by generators, rather than from the grid. We’ll also need to undertake further work on the network in the future, which may require power to be temporarily disconnected. To help people get through we have a range of information available.


How long will my power be out?

It will depend on the type of fault causing the outage and available resources. For the latest outage information, click here or give our faults team a call on 0800 367 328.

Once the cyclone hit, what was the priority?

Our immediate focus was on the safety of our people as well as the public.  We then focused on restoring essential services like water, supermarkets, wastewater, hospitals and power before looking to restore power to large groups of customers.   

We now have faults crews out across our entire network trying to restore faults and reconnect people as soon as we possibly can.

Will TLC pay for the food I’ve lost?

That’s a discussion for you to have with your insurance companyIf you are covered by insurance, you should be able to make a claim.

Are foodbanks offering assistance?

Yes. There are a number of foodbanks throughout The Lines Company network area. Their details are listed further down this page.

Who can I go to for help to get food and other items?

We understand there is support available from Work and Income for those directly affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.  Work and Income may be able to help with: 

  • medical costs  
  • bedding  
  • food  
  • power bills  
  • repairs or replacing appliances 
  • loss of income because you can’t work.  

Everyone’s situation is different. To talk to Work and Income call 0800 400 100 between 8.00am – 5.00pm.  

You can also access their website at www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/urgent-costs 

Will I be able to claim insurance for the cost of damaged or ruined appliances and other household goods?

That’s a discussion for you to have with your insurance companyIf you are covered by insurance, you should be able to make a claim.

I don’t have insurance. Will TLC pay for my broken appliances?

No. Unfortunately TLC cannot be responsible for natural disasters which are beyond our control. Cyclone Gabrielle has been a catastrophic event. Unless you are insured, the responsibility for appliance and household goods rests with you. 

Will TLC reimburse me for the costs of buying a generator?

No. Unfortunately TLC cannot be responsible for natural disasters which are beyond our control.

Do I need permission to connect a generator? If so, how do I get that?

Whilst technically not a requirement, we would appreciate being informed that generation is being connected to an installation so that we can manage any backfeed risks to keep ourselves and the public safe. Any connection of a generator to an installation MUST be performed by a registered electrician.


I have a rental tenant; will TLC provide them with a generator?

No. Unfortunately like the question above, TLC cannot be responsible for natural disasters which are beyond our control.

Is it safe to eat the food in my fridge and freezer?

If in doubt, don’t. Check out the food safety information we have available further down this page.

Do I have to let you on my property to help restore power?

Under our pre-existing property rights or legal agreements we have with all customers, you must allow us safe and unobstructed access to energy supply equipment on your property, if we need to access it. The sooner we have access, the sooner we can get power back on.

There is damage to a section of line which I own privately. Will TLC cover the cost of the repair? 

Some of the damage may be on your line or by your trees and there may be costs that need to be covered by the owner of that line.

Are people across our network, who are medically dependent on a constant supply of electricity, safe?

Yes. We have done everything possible to make sure we restore their power as fast as possible following an outage. 

We simply cannot guarantee any customer uninterrupted supply. Our focus is worker and public safety, followed by getting the power back on.

Will TLC offer discounts or a credit for the time power wasn’t supplied?

No. Unfortunately, TLC cannot be responsible for natural disasters which are beyond our controlWe’re community-owned and our assets have been significantly impacted by the event.

Will forestry owners, who have trees too close to the power lines, have any responsibility for what’s occurred?

Yes. That is an issue we and other line companies have been discussing with the government for some time.


How will TLC ensure the network is reliable in other events like this?

Natural events like this one are near impossible to fully prepare for as there are so many variables and unknowns. We manage our network to government required standards, while ensuring the investment decisions we make provide value for money with a focus on assets which will provide power for generations to come. 

How do I make a complaint?

If you have a complaint, please call 0800 367 546 or to access our free complaints process. If we cannot resolve your complaint, you can contact Utilities Disputes on 0800 22 33 40 or go to their website. Utilities Disputes is a free and independent service for resolving complaints about utilities providers.

Support available

There is a range of support available to people impacted by the cyclone.

Civil Defence has issued a factsheet detailing what support people can access.

  • This includes financial support from Work and Income, animal welfare support from MPI, insurance and lodging claims, tenancy information, schools and early childhood education centres,  healthcare services and more.

Download the Factsheet

Support and information

Food safety is just one step in staying safe during and after an emergency. Civil Defence has more information on what to do in an emergency and where you can get support.

Waikato Region Civil Defence Emergency Management


Call your district council to contact local Civil Defence staff

Otorohanga District Council

0800 734 000

Waitomo Council

07 878 0800

South Waikato District Council

07 885 0340

Taupo District Council

0800 275 832

Ruapehu District Council

07 895 8188

Report electrical hazards
The Lines Company
0800 367 328

Food and food safety

Having access to food and making sure food is safe to eat after a natural disaster is vital to your whanau’s health and wellbeing.

In a natural disaster, several things may occur that put your food safety at risk.

  • Fridges, freezers and ovens may break
    down and food could spoil more quickly.
  • Water supplies could be cut off or contaminated.
  • Sewerage systems could be disrupted/ damaged.

Download our Food Safety Guide

Farming support

The Government has unlocked funding to support the rural sector.

Enhanced Task Force Green

  • Provides funding to councils or other authorised agency to employ job seekers with the clean-up.
  • Available throughout New Zealand.
  • Get in touch with your local Rural Support Trust for more information.

Enhanced Task Force Green Information


Other support

Ministry for Primary Industries

Federated Farmers


Beef + Lamb New Zealand


Rural Support Trust

  • Can help you to access financial support including Tax Flexibility Options, Adverse Events Relief Fund, Farm Business Advice Fund, Mayoral Relief Funds, and Civil Defence Payments
  • They can also provide support and advice on clean-up support, animal welfare, stock movements, and wellbeing and business support.


Connected by generator?

What you need to know if you’re connected to one of our generators.

Our team have been busy connecting generators to affected areas in the network, providing a temporary source of power to customers.

While portable generators are great for temporarily restoring critical electricity supply, they are not a permanent source of supply, and unfortunately, they are prone to reliability issues.

Although we do not expect generator failures, please be prepared to be without power in case any sudden outages occur.

Be prepared for if outages happen; we recommend:

  • A torch and spare batteries
  • A full gas bottle so you can cook using your BBQ
  • Some cash as EFTPOS machines rely on power
  • Candles and matches – make sure you never light candles near curtains or leave them unattended
  • A battery-operated radio
  • A fully charged cell phone OR fully charged power bank
  • A full tank of petrol in your vehicle
  • Bottled water per person – you should keep this in your freezer so it’s fresh

If you do experience an outage, please call our faults team on 0800 367 328.


Aerial inspections

We’ll be flying over areas of our network by helicopter and using drones.

We’re doing aerial-based surveys of parts of the network using helicopters and drone technology to inspect power lines, power poles, cross arms, and other equipment.

The helicopter and drone inspections are an important part of operating and safe, reliable and efficient network and will provide a more detailed view of the damage done to infrastructure during Cyclone Gabrielle.

Helicopter inspections will take place as and when needed.

Inspections using drones are scheduled as follows:

  • Taupō Feeder (Tūrangi) – 23 to 25 February
  • Mōkau Feeder (Mōkau North) – 1 March through to 17 March
  • Northern Feeder (Taumaraunui) – 20 March through to 31 March
  • Taupō Feeder (Tūrangi) – 3 April through to 5 April

Due to changes in flying conditions, this schedule may change without notice.

Find out more about drone inspections