Not many of us would enjoy the idea of having power pylons in our back yard - even if our back yard was a farm.

So Waikato farmer Steve Meier, who objects to the line of pylons marching across his land carrying electricity to Auckland and beyond, is entitled to a modicum of sympathy.

But it was never more than a modicum and it evaporated completely on Monday when the farmer's intractability led, indirectly but inevitably, to major power disruptions across the Auckland region.

The city, which has had more than its fair share of interruptions to power supply, endured traffic chaos and some businesses were forced to close for the day.

Whether Meier likes it or not, in matters to do with the supply of basic utilities, individual property rights must bow to the majority good.

The fact is that we live in a long and narrow country: the distances that lines must cover are disproportionate to the land area served and the alternative routes are of necessity limited.

Living less than 100km from the biggest conurbation in the land, Meier and the other Waikato farmers who share his disaffection need to be realistic.

It is the luck of the draw that the pylons are on their land and that more will come in the planned $830m network upgrade. Like the homeowners who will be uprooted by the Waterview Connection roading project, the farmers are paying the price of living in the middle of the route to the future; unlike the homeowners, they are not entitled to compensation, which is hardly unfair, since their actual loss is minimal.

Meier's grounds for objection seem rather fluid, anyway: with one breath he is castigating Transpower for not doing routine maintenance that would have prevented Monday's fire, and with the next denying them access - and accusing them of trespass - for not giving advance warning that they are not required to do.

It is hard to see why he would want notice - it is not as if Transpower wants to do the maintenance in his bedroom at 2am.

But if a phone call the day before is all he wants, let Transpower call him. And then let Meier go back to farming and let Transpower get on with making Auckland's power supply secure.