Major damage caused by lightning storm resulting in power rationing and the closure of schools for two days

Lightning storm on Friday night caused major damage forcing Niue Power to ration power with only one generator carrying the load

The lightning storm on Friday night caused major damage to the power system resulting in an island-wide power outage. The damage was so severe that at 5.33pm on Sunday Acting Premier Crossley Tatui informed Utilities Director Clinton Chapman to activate Alert Notice for the Secretary of Government and the Disaster Team. 

According to the updates provided by the Director of Utilities Clinton Chapman the solar power batteries and control systems were damaged by the lightning strike and power to the island was now running on generators. 

However, Chapman cautioned that the generators are not running at optimum capacity, saying “We are limited in capacity as the lightning storm caused damage to their controls also.” Because of this situation, power rationing has been necessary since Saturday. This means that power would be switched off in certain areas around the island to help ease the load off the generators depending on the overall island load. 

Schools are closed since Monday with Director of Education Birtha Togahai last night informed that “Due to the NPC Power rationing process, the Schools will be closed until Tuesday”, however another notice was issued last night from the Director to advise that the schools will remain closed for the second day. Niue High School will open tomorrow for its Prize-giving event.

Meanwhile, power rationing will continue until the major damages caused by the lightning storm are fully restored.

The public is asked to minimise the use of high-energy consumption appliances to conserve power as they await the arrival of an engineer with parts to fix the damage caused.

The lightning storm on Friday night damaged phone lines and power boxes to some homes in Alofi South and Tuapa. One homeowner from Alofi South told BCN News that she was very surprised to see the damage caused by the lightning inside her home. She described the burnt phone lines which travelled through the wall and burned the tiles on the floor. The force of the storm so strong that it forced the lid off the power box and her wine glasses on the shelf were thrown across the room.

Another homeowner in Tuapa described the damage outside her home with burnt phone lines and exposed damaged water pipes.

BCN News reached out to the Director of Utilities Clinton Chapman for more information on the major power outage but have yet to receive a response.

BCN News is able to provide information about this power situation from information released to a Village Council Messenger Group. However people especially the elderly have been calling the national broadcaster to ask for updates on the situation because they are not receiving any information about how long the power rationing will take and if their power will be on or off.

There has been no information provided on Radio Sunshine for the public as it seems the Department of Utilities only uses Messenger to disseminate public information.

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