Thursday, January 28, 2010

Steve Meier and Transpower

An Auckland friend emails:
Please make sure the trees on your property aren’t interfering with my electricity supply.
This, South Islanders and international readers, is what he is referring to, if you will excuse the split infinitive:
Power was lost to more than 50,000 Auckland and Northland homes, traffic lights were out, and some businesses were forced to close when pylons sparked a fire in trees on a Waikato property about 4pm.
The fire caused a fault on two of the transmission lines that feed the region. With the Otahuhu power station out of action for maintenance, Transpower declared a grid emergency and called on electricity retailer Vector to reduce pressure on the network by implementing rolling outages.
Transpower and Vector both said this afternoon there would be no compensation for customers.
The outage was drawn out after linesmen were barred from entering Steve Meier’s farm near Hamilton to make repairs following the fire.
The linesmen required a police escort onto the property, where police seized 11 guns and Mr Meier’s firearms licence.
Mr Meier blamed Transpower for yesterday’s cuts, saying he warned the company five years ago that a fire on his 13ha property would happen.
Transpower chief executive Patrick Strange said Mr Meier had obstructed the company when it had sent staff to trim the trees back from the pylons.
Mr Meier has fought a five-year battle, along with about 50 other landowners in the area, upset at the company’s refusal to pay for easement rights for hosting its structures.
Mr Strange said Mr Meier was the most difficult person in the country to deal with.
Yes, he is obviously a very difficult person to deal with. Some of us might say, if pushed, that he is possibly a f―ing idiot. But “the most difficult person in the country to deal with”?

I have some other candidates, and I bet you do too.

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