Farmer Hans Brink was overseas when devastating storms ravaged the lower North Island.
It was mid-2015 and Hans’ wife Michelle was home alone when the power went out on their remote property.
With a home and seven freezers to keep running, Michelle Brink had to rely on a small generator borrowed from a neighbour to keep things ticking over.
It wasn’t the first time. In 33 years of farming the 700-hectare sheep, cattle and forestry property, 50km inland from Kai Iwi, the Brinks had experienced power cuts of up to two weeks on several occasions.
Like many farmers, the Brinks had relied on kilometres of power poles and lines crossing land prone to slips, floods, and falling trees. This meant electricity supplies could be disrupted without warning – especially in bad weather.
“When you’re at the end of the line like we were, you’re at the mercy of the whole grid,” Hans said.
The big 2015 power cut started on June 20, coinciding with some of the worst flooding on record in the Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui areas. But the Brinks’ electricity worries ended two weeks later when Powerco brought in a trial version of Base Power.
Powered by photovoltaic solar panels, with a diesel generator back-up and a bank of batteries to store excess energy, the Brinks are now able to reliably operate their home and five-stand woolshed.
Not having to worry about electricity has been liberating.
“We don’t even think about power anymore. Honestly, we can only say good things about the way Powerco has treated us. If people get offered one of these units they should go for it.
“It’s excellent. We’re 100% happy.”