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Man charged after fatal power outage

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/08/2016

A man has been charged over a crash that caused a power outage during which an oxygen-dependent Taupo woman died.

Fai Deane, 50, died in January following a power cut to 630 homes in Rifle Range Road that caused her ventilator to stop working.

Police on Tuesday said they had charged a 21-year-old Rotorua man with criminal nuisance for allegedly driving into a street sign and three power poles, causing the outage.

The charge was found to be appropriate following interviews with witnesses, including experts, Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Cranshaw says.

At the time, police said it was not clear whether power company Unison Energy had been informed of Ms Deane's electricity dependency.

The man is set to appear in Taupo District Court on Wednesday.

In 2007, Mangere woman Folole Muliaga died when a contractor to Mercury Energy cut the power to her home, where she was using an oxygen machine, because she hadn't paid her bill.

A coroner later found she died as a result of morbid obesity, but the loss of power also played a part in her death.

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