Telecom says it will be having strong words with the contractor responsible for severing more than 2,000 telephone lines to the Auckland suburb of Pt Chevalier.
The fault, which happened on Thursday, has left hundreds of customers without phones or dial-up internet access.
St John Ambulance says people who rely on its emergency Lifelink service should consider staying with relatives until the lines are fully restored. It says Telecom has offered to give cellphones to those who use the emergency service device.
Lines are not expected to be fully restored until some time next week, as each wire has to be repaired individually.
A spokesperson for Telecom, Mark Watts, says talks about compensation will be held soon with the company that severed the wires, and customers affected will receive one month's credit on their bill.