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Vodafone Cook Islands plans power upgrade after backup system failure

Tuesday 23 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National, Outer Islands, Technology

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Vodafone Cook Islands plans power upgrade after backup system failure
Vodafone Cook Islands chief executive Phillip Henderson. VODAFONE/24042224

A power supply issue at Vodafone Cook Islands’ Aroa Station disrupted the telecommunication company’s services in the country on Saturday morning.

Vodafone chief executive Phillip Henderson said due to the complexity of the power outage and some backup system failures, restoring full service took additional time.

On Saturday, Vodafone said a “power outage” at its Aroa station disrupted key services, including internet, landline and mobile data, in Rarotonga and the outer islands.

Yesterday, Rarotonga electricity company Te Aponga Uira (TAU) confirmed that Vodafone’s Aroa station had an electrical fault, causing a power outage at its premises.

TAU manager corporate services Danny Vakapora said no other customers’ power supplies were affected. 

“Upon TAU being notified of the issue, power was restored early Saturday morning, with necessary major electrical upgrade work to come in the next few days to accommodate load increase in the area, especially for Vodafone,” Vakapora said.

“We are working closely with Vodafone to successfully deliver this.”

In a statement, Vodafone Cook Islands said they would be conducting an inspection of their Aroa Station power load and take remedial action.

In an email message to customers yesterday morning, Henderson said that to prevent such disruptions in the future, they have collaborated with Te Aponga Uira to conduct a thorough inspection of their power load, and take remedial action including the installation of an upgraded power cable feed to the Aroa station.

He said this upgrade was essential due to the increased power load resulting from the addition of new services at the station.

Henderson said that two weeks ago, Vodafone installed a 30KW solar array at the station to alleviate some of the load. However, he added that as customer demand for services and data continues to grow, it was imperative that the systems receive ample power to meet the demand effectively.

The unexpected power supply issue occurred at the station at 3.42am on Saturday, resulting in a widespread service disruption affecting a significant number of Vodafone customers, the telecommunication provider said.

The incident impacted both mobile and landline services, as well as internet connectivity across Rarotonga and the Pa Enua and several major business operations were also affected.

Henderson said their technical team worked to restore mobile services, with mobile calling and SMS restored at 7am Saturday and mobile data services were also reinstated.

He added that they allowed users to access mobile data free of charge while the technical team worked to resolve the issue.

Vodafone said the process was exceptionally challenging due to the complexity of the power outage and the unexpected failure of the backup systems designed to maintain power continuity.