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Topic # 59007 24-Mar-2010 21:19
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We've just had a widespread power outage here in West Auckland and I'm deeply shocked at the response I got from my power company Genesis.

First I ring their helpline and hit their IVR

Press 1 for a fault.

Then Press 1 for an urgent fault - I consider no power pretty darn urgent.

Turns out this is their Emergency only line. It would have been useful if their IVR had told me. At the second prompt I was supposed to press "3" which is for non-serious power outages. How is a power outage at 8:30pm at night non-serious?

Then when I lodge the issue they tell me I need to call 0800 200 444 as I need to speak to the lines company.

I call 0800 200 444 and end up back at the Genesis Energy helpline. By this point at 8:50 pm I'm a bit frustrated and want to lodge a complaint, but their are no managers free. The person I'm dealing with though is very helpful and puts me through to the Lines company.

Whilst waiting on hold for the lines company power is restored, but I"m them provided with a very weak explanation of the problem, substation fault in Henderson, and informed that my power isn't actually due on for another 30-60 minutes. They then pass me back to Genesis for more information.

Back a Genesis they say I need to speak to the lines company for more information. Yay.

So then I ask for a manager from their call centre to raise my issues and complaints. Turns out that they all went home just before 9pm whilst most of West Auckland still has a serious power outage going on.

The best I can hope for is for someone to contact me between 9am and 12pm tomorrow, and the actual Genesis call centre closes at 9pm regardless of any ongoing faults.

Any worries I had about a third world power network in NZ have now been fully confirmed. If anyone has a senior contact within Genesis or Vector with whom I can raise this with directly I'd really appreciate a PM. Meanwhile I'd love to hear if anyone else has had similar frustrations.

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  Reply # 311003 24-Mar-2010 21:43
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I dont think that the power companies have deployed enough RNCs :P

Power obviously isnt as crucial as mobile phones given that they get away outages so often. You're screwed too as there isnt exactly a competing network you can transfer to.

seriously, if we were to start a list of services that XT is more reliable than in terms of uptime, I reckon power would make the list!




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  Reply # 311014 24-Mar-2010 21:54
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  Reply # 311024 24-Mar-2010 22:03
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freitasm: And yet you don't see government screaming for heads on the energy business, do you?


I bet if all the power went off south of Taupo for 5+ hours they would!

openmedia: How is a power outage at 8:30pm at night non-serious?


Because your life wasn't at risk?

Now I agree the power going out is a right hassle and you obvious got a bit of a runaround from the call centre. But you're just an end-user of a service that hundreds of thousands use. What were you really expecting?




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  Reply # 311025 24-Mar-2010 22:03
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freitasm: And yet you don't see government screaming for heads on the energy business, do you?



Except where someone drives a forklift into a 10,000 VA cable in south auckland.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.



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  Reply # 311043 24-Mar-2010 22:38
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muppet:
freitasm: And yet you don't see government screaming for heads on the energy business, do you?


I bet if all the power went off south of Taupo for 5+ hours they would!

openmedia: How is a power outage at 8:30pm at night non-serious?


Because your life wasn't at risk?

Now I agree the power going out is a right hassle and you obvious got a bit of a runaround from the call centre. But you're just an end-user of a service that hundreds of thousands use. What were you really expecting?


Some degree of customer service?

It come down to a defintion of serious. In any house hold, especially one with young  children or old people a loss of power can be quite serious.

Their IVR doesn't mention the term "Life Threatening".




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  Reply # 311148 25-Mar-2010 09:39
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I agree that their customer service sucks - had something similar last year - had to call 3 different numbers to report a power outage.

Saying that, I do agree it wasn't urgent fault i.e. someones trapped inside a car that a live power cable has fallen on top of (for whatever reason)!



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  Reply # 311153 25-Mar-2010 09:50
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Byrned: I agree that their customer service sucks - had something similar last year - had to call 3 different numbers to report a power outage.

Saying that, I do agree it wasn't urgent fault i.e. someones trapped inside a car that a live power cable has fallen on top of (for whatever reason)!


Now I'd personally call your senario an Emergency. Its way past Urgent.




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  Reply # 311159 25-Mar-2010 10:05
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Byrned: I agree that their customer service sucks - had something similar last year - had to call 3 different numbers to report a power outage.

Saying that, I do agree it wasn't urgent fault i.e. someones trapped inside a car that a live power cable has fallen on top of (for whatever reason)!


Wouldn't the fire service be your first call in that scenario?

The reality is, outages do occur, but it seems like power company's missed the module on customer service.  The outage you can deal with the inconvenience of, the run-around trying to report a fault or obtain more information is just a slap in the face.


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  Reply # 311336 25-Mar-2010 16:21
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openmedia: We've just had a widespread power outage here in West Auckland and I'm deeply shocked at the response I got from my power company Genesis.

Any worries I had about a third world power network in NZ have now been fully confirmed.


Time for a very big reality check. Third world power networks, don't have power 24/7, 365 days of the year. Okay slight exagerration, maybe there's a day or two during the year where there's enough voltage to boil water in a jug. So how long were you without power?

Unplanned outages are a fact of life. The network companies obviously do their utmost best to restore power as soon as possible. All situations are dealt with appropriately as best as is possible at the time, Emergencies and non alike.

If you have concerns about the outage and why it happened, then I'm sure you can follow it up with vector  and discuss what they are doing to improve their network infrastructure.

Your issue seems to be more with Customer service. Granted that you did get bounced back and forth between Genesis and the lines company, so I'm sure that when you hear from a Manager, they will address that issue, so it hopefully doesnt happen in the future.

There must have been thousands affected last night, and naturally many would have rung their power company and/or lines company and perhaps a few may have experienced the same customer service issues as you did, but I guarantee many would have been like "okay guys the power is off, we will sit tight for a bit and see what happens". If there was truly a life threatening situation, then you call the fire department, the ambulance or the police, it's pretty simple.

Really, what will consulting a senior executive at Genesis and/or Vector achieve for you personally? You could easily experience the same issues regardless of power company you are with and I'm sure it won't be the last time either this happens.













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  Reply # 311350 25-Mar-2010 16:46
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openmedia:Any worries I had about a third world power network in NZ have now been fully confirmed.


Oh really? So the power goes out for 20 minutes and bang we have a third world network. I take it you've spent time living in/travelling through parts of South and Central America and Africa, because I wouldn't be comparing those Third World areas with NZ.

How about the US and Canada, would you call them Third World countries? Probably not, so what about the massive outages of 2003 that affected about 55 million people? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Blackout_of_2003

Now that is a power cut. Sorry, it just annoys me when people start saying this, that, and the other in NZ is so Third World, when in reality so many things here are paradise when compared with an actual Third World country.

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  Reply # 311476 25-Mar-2010 23:40
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The problem I have is that the monitoring of the networks is rubbish. They cant tell if there is a failure in places without sending people out or people calling in faults.

Last year all winter we had no hot water because the lame pilot wire they use on the old waitamata network will fail and they have no idea. Sorted that one out last winter myself for a while, but there were many days where the pilot wire never came on or was on for way less than its supposed to be.

In saying that, with the tarrif we are on at the other house, there is no saving for controlled or uncontrolled hot water so may as well just opt for uncontrolled and leave it at that.




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  Reply # 311513 26-Mar-2010 08:50
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the third world thing bugs me too. I realise it is hyperbole to an extent, but people int he third wolrd have very genuine and serious problems.

If we (particularly the media) keep spouting nonsense about how, for example, having one of our multiple 3G networks going down for a couple of days is 'third world' or how having a power cut for a couple of hours in one city is 'third world' it makes the genuine plight of people in the third world seem less serious.

After all, if that is the kind of 'serious' problems they have to live with, then that means they are really no worse off than we are, so why the heck should we help them at all?

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  Reply # 311532 26-Mar-2010 09:30
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Power cuts are are gonna happen no matter how much we plan for them, looks like the best thing they can do to improve is make their phone support better as that is simply shocking




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  Reply # 311601 26-Mar-2010 12:31
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In the 10 years I've lived in NZ I've experienced over 40 power cuts. 15-20 of these related to the hot water pilot no coming back on, and the rest have been outright power loss for anything from 10 minutes to over 8 hours.

This also doesn't include an extreme number of power surges, and a period were we lost a phase for most of the street. Nor does it include power cuts I've had at places of work.

I've lived in a number of countries and never had an experience as bad as this.

As to Genesis. They rang me last night to discuss my issues.

  1. They admit that their IVR system has some issues and I did get caught in a circular route. Also that they need clearer instructions on the IVR to avoid non emergency calls hitting their emergency line.

  2. They can no longer help with power issues. These are supposed to be handed off to vector, but there appears to be a break down in the system and the calls end up back a Gensis. They are trying to resolve this.

  3. Vector are upgrading the substation for my neighbourhood, and the work will be completed by mid next year and should result in a lot more reliable power.

I was very impressed with the person I dealt with at Genesis. She was very informative and helpful, and had actually looked into the prior power issues for my house and the neighbourhood before calling.

Overall I'm a bit more impressed with Genesis, but still far from happy about the fact that I pay Genesis for my power and then have to deal with the Lines company every time I have a fault.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 311638 26-Mar-2010 14:50
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when i was in nicaragua the power company would do random rolling power outages during peak times as a ploy to try and get all their customers to pay up.




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