Island-wide power outage shuts down the national broadcaster for 48 hours

One of the three existing generators is 30 years old at the Tuila Power Station

Power is restored to most of the island except for a few villages on the east coast, with the Niue Power team working on restoring power to Lakepa and Liku this afternoon. An engineer from New Zealand arrived on the first QFT flight yesterday to help restore power, working with Niue Power to restore the island’s power supply.

Meanwhile, the message from the Director of Utilities Clinton Chapman is to minimize energy consumption, while they work to restore power to normal.

The power outage which affected the whole island initially started five days and was isolated to the northern side of the island, affecting the power to the villages on the northern and eastern side but since then, the Niue Power generators supplying the whole island quickly shut down, unable to handle the load.

On Wednesday night last week, the northern villages from Namukulu through to Liku on the east coast of the island had no power supply until 8pm on Thursday.

Power was restored from Friday until Saturday, when the Department of Utilities of the Ministry of Infrastructure informed the village councils on Saturday 25th June that due to unstable power supply, power will be rationed. This resulted in an island-wide power shutdown on Saturday evening from 6 pm until 10pm.

Power was back on for the southern feeder for the villages of Alofi going south to the village of Hakupu but the villages covered by the northern feeder remained without power.

Niue Power staff worked throughout the weekend, into the early hours of Sunday morning to restore power but there was another island-wide power outage on Sunday 26th June, around midday which stayed off for most of the island until 11.30am today Tuesday 29th June.

An engineer from New Zealand had to fly in on the first QFT flight yesterday to help restore the power.

BCN News is aware of the communications from the government officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure to the Village Council Messenger Group over the past 48 hours revealing the capacity issues of the Niue Power Team to fix the problem.

Concerns were raised by people from the outer villages who have been without power since Saturday night with people asking for freezer containers so they can store their food. There were concerns about water as without power, water supply from the water tanks were not working. Concerns are also raised about the medications of people that have gone without power for more than 2 days.

The Broadcasting Corporations generator which kicked in during the first outage wasn’t able to perform when the power was shut down on Saturday night, meaning the national broadcaster went dark for forty-eight hours.

The decision was made to ration power to ensure key infrastructure such as the hospital and the Telecom station at Kaimiti were prioritised. Despite the best efforts to keep 4G services running, the generators at the tower at Sekena used by Telecom also failed. Generators supplying power to other key infrastructure also failed.

BCN’s Radio Sunshine and TV Niue are back on air this afternoon.

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