We get asked a lot of questions about what we do and how things work, and we've captured the most common ones we get asked below. If you have a question that's not answered here, send us an email and we will post the answer!

What is electricity?

Electricity is a form of energy created when electrons flow from atom to atom.

How fast does electricity travel?

Approximately the speed of light which is more than 186,000 miles per second or 299,338 kilometres per second.

Why can you sometimes see a spark if you can't see electricity?

You can't see electricity when it is flowing through a circuit but if electricity leaves the circuit, like when someone is shocked – you can see a spark.  The spark is actually a flame when electricity travels through the air and burns oxygen.

Why can birds sit on power lines and not be shocked?

Because they don't give the electricity an easier pathway to the groundHowever if touching 2 lines at once, it would create a circuit and electricity would flow through the bird.

Why don't Vector linesmen get hurt when they work on the lines?

Our linesmen have special safety clothing to protect them, as well as special equipment and tools to do their job. All of Vector's linesmen have been trained on how to do their job safely and efficiently to ensure that they don't get hurt or put others at risk.

What should you do if someone is getting an electric shock at home?

It's important to stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Turn off the main power to the house.
  • Switch off and unplug the faulty appliance.
  • Turn the main power switch back on and call 111.

How many volts of electricity in a lightning bolt?

A bolt of lightning is a large discharge of static electricity and can be up to approximately 30 million volts!

How much of New Zealand's electricity is generated from renewable sources?

Around 77% of the country's electricity is generated from renewable sources. The remaining 23% is generated from non-renewable sources such as gas and coal.

How many power stations are there in New Zealand?

There's about 110 in New Zealand and most of those are hydro power stations.

Why is New Zealand so reliant on hydroelectricity? 

Hydroelectric power stations makes up 58% of our power production in New Zealand. We are ideally suited to hydro electric power stations due to our high rainfall and the many lakes and rivers in New Zealand.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide, otherwise known as CO, is a dangerous gas that you can't smell or see. It's produced when people use natural gas or other fuels (such as petrol, propane, fuel oil and wood) without enough oxygen.

How deep are Vector's gas pipes buried underground?

Vector's pipelines can be from 40 centimetres to more than 1.2 metres underground, depending of the pressure and location.

What should you do if you smell gas at home?

It's very important that you tell an adult if you smell gas. If there isn't an adult home, leave the house and take everyone with you. Don't use a light switch, garage door opener, match, torch, phone or cell phone – a spark could ignite the gas. Ask an adult to call 111 or do so yourself when you are outside of the home, if you can't find an adult.