A Unison Facebook photo showing the conditions faced by its repair crews since the polar blast on the weekend.
Power has been restored to about 70 customers in parts of rural Hawke’s Bay who have had no electricity since Saturday, lines company Unison Networks advised this morning.
"The crews undertook a huge first day on restoration efforts, which has seen about 70 customers now back on, mainly in the Tutira areas of Pohokura and Ridgemount, with smaller pockets of customers along SH5," said Unison's Relationship Manager, Danny Gough.
He said based on progress to date, the team was hopeful the majority of customers could be restored in a few days as initially predicted.
"As we dig through by foot though, we are uncovering more damage, so restoration will depend on how much more we find."
Civil Defence advises it has carried out a welfare assessment and is activating a targeted response. It is also working with affected dairy farmers who are requiring power.
Customers affected are in the areas of Tutira (Pohokura/Ridgemount), Puketitiri, Esk Valley, Patoka, Tangoio and Otamauri.
Meanwhile, temporary access has been restored to Mountain Valley Lodge and other residents along washed-out McVicar Rd in Te Haroto in Hastings (pictured below), with permanent access expected to be completed tonight.
The temporary access for 4WD vehicles was in by 5pm last night, and single lane permanent access is expected to be in place by late this afternoon, according to Hastings District Council.
Full two lane access will not be completed until the Napier-Taupo Rd opens, which will allow culvert pipes to be trucked in. District council staff are hoping the full job can be completed by about midday on Friday.
This morning NZTA still has the Napier-Taupo Rd closed, and says it will reassess the situation at 10am. See: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/areawarnings/145811
Taihape Rd remains closed for all of today after more snow fell in the area last night. The closure is being manned to stop people trying to get past the closure point at the Kaweka Forestry headquarters.
Drivers using the road from Napier north to Wairoa and Gisborne are being asked to take extreme care.
MetService has now lifted its road snow fall warning for the Napier-Taupo Rd.