16 Apr 2018

Powerless Aucklanders left footing the bill: 'It was my only option'

7:21 pm on 16 April 2018

There are still 1200 homes and businesses in Auckland without power almost a week after storms hit the region - with power not expected to return to some until the end of this week.

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Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

One Piha resident has had to take out a loan to buy his own generator because he said there are none left to rent in Auckland.

Geoff Calvert lives at the end of Glenesk road in Piha and is still without power since strong winds lashed the Auckland region last week.

He runs Piha Beach Stay accomodation and said he needed a generator to keep his business going.

"It cost me $7000 [but] it was my only option really otherwise we just had to leave the premises," he said.

"We had a lot of future bookings [and we didn't want to] inconvenience all those people and lose money and things like that."

Mr Calvert said he is outraged at the long wait he has faced to have his power restored.

Vector needed to take better care of remote communities and also have a clearer lines of communication, he said.

Meanwhile another Auckland business owner is asking for Vector to compensate businesses who lost money because of the long delays to restore power.

Maureen Ballard - who runs a cafe on Buckley Road in Epsom - is part of a block of five businesses which had their power restored yesterday afternoon.

This morning, she was even busier than usual whipping up a storm to quickly restock her bare food cabinets.

Ms Ballard said the six day power cut will cost her around $5000 because of lost business and having to get rid of food.

Trying to lodge the outage to Vector was a major source of frustration, she said.

"I finally got through and they said the job hadn't been logged in, [but] it had been for days - the whole neighbourhood had logged it and was following the app so someone's failed big time," said Ms Ballard.

The repair work took all of about 30 minutes - and should've been fixed earlier to stop businesses having to close their doors, she said.

Ms Ballard says her current insurance would not cover her lost revenue.

She said Vector should compensate businesses in similar situations for the long time it took to restore power.

"They kept telling us every day we were going to have our power on at certain times and it never happened, they just kept changing the app," she said.

"In the end we just had to empty the freezer and take [the food] and put it around people's houses so we didn't lose it."

Customers returning to their regular jaunt for coffee today had differing views on Vector's response to the power outages with some siding with Ms Ballard and some saying Aucklanders needed to be more understanding.

In a statement Vector said it was not in a position to compensate for loss of electricity supply as a consequence of significant weather events.