Almost 40,000 Auckland homes were expected to remain without power overnight following a massive outage caused by a fire at the Penrose substation early yesterday morning. The Herald looks at how the Auckland blackout affected each suburb and how residents and shop owners coped with the situation.

1. Newmarket

Shoppers turned up to the 277 mall on Broadway to find the doors closed.

Down the road at Lush, staff jazzed up the store with scores of candles.

Store manager Caela Groemewald said the store could only take cash and use a manual eftpos machine, and by early afternoon had only made two sales on what should have been a busy Sunday trading day.

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Ben Bay worked at streetwear store Loaded where there was a power generator. After buying some lights the store was running on one computer, one eftpos machine and music.

2. Epsom
During a visit to the Penrose substation yesterday, Epsom MP David Seymour said he woke up at his Remuera home to find the power was out.

He'd been contacted by constituents but most people understood "we have to let the engineers work on the relivening as rapidly as possible".

Other than ensuring those who required power for medical purposes were looked after, "the most important thing is that people make sure that they barbecue any steaks that have thawed out as a result of the power cut".

View: Penrose substation blaze causes outages

A blaze at the Penrose substation has caused power outages which are affecting large swathes of the Auckland region.

Mercy Hospital in Epsom was running on back-up power and no surgery would be done until mains power was restored. Patients were to be advised today whether their operations would go ahead.

Real estate agent Bill Myers was holding an open home on Manukau Rd in Epsom. "We haven't got power, but we've got music, " he said. The heaters, operated by a timer, did not come on when he set up. "Gee, it was cold," Mr Myers said.

3. Mt Eden
It was jolly cold when Janet Irwin, aged 84, got up yesterday at Mt Eden Gardens retirement village.

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But there were hot drinks provided on a gas stove for her and residents of the 36 units at the village.

Normally Ms Irwin drives to Remuera Rd on Sunday but with traffic lights out she skipped church.

Duty manager Marion Callagher said there was no phone, television, lighting or heating. Family members had been checking in with hot food and more residents had made a booking for a hot meal last night.

Fortunately, she said, none of the residents needed medical care or were sick.

At Altar Cafe in Mt Eden Rd, business was down 75 per cent, according to manager Kerry Taia.

The doors closed at noon. Normally, the coffee machine would still be steaming at 10pm. Hot meals were cooked on a gas stove. "Today has been quite horrible," she said.


4. Remuera
It was a cup of tea from water heated on the barbecue and a stroll down largely deserted Remuera Rd for Annette Pegler and her granddaughter Olive yesterday.

"It makes you realise how much you depend on power," said the Rangitoto Ave resident.

The Pegler household was well-prepared for an earthquake with plenty of food supplies, but it still meant checking the freezer, getting ready for fires and through the cold snap without any electric blankets.

Ascot Hospital was running on back-up power and no surgery would be done today if power had not been restored.

Photo gallery: Major Auckland power outage

5. St Johns

St Johns Butchery owner David Norris-Clark said he hired a generator about 7.30am yesterday.

He removed all meat from his Merton Rd store into a refrigerated truck.

He managed to get everything back into the butchery to open at 2.30pm, six hours later than he'd normally open on a Sunday. Many of the neighbouring shops remained closed.

"I'm helping out other businesses by giving them space in the chiller," Mr Norris-Clark said. His insurance would not cover losses due to closure or the cost of a generator.

6. Glen Innes
The car park of a group of shops that contained a McDonald's and a KFC was near deserted, apart from a Mad Butcher shop operating on generator power.

7. St Heliers
St Heliers Bay Cafe manager Erin McCullough said she had had to throw out all the popular cafe's gelato.

Though they had a gas supply, the extractor fans would not work without electricity, so they couldn't cook.

Ms McCullough said the cafe would normally have 1000 people through on a Sunday. "I think there's been a mass migration to town."

View: Raw: Fire at Penrose substation

8. Meadowbank

At Meadowbank Shopping Centre, everything was blacked out, with only Countdown supermarket displaying minimal lighting, thanks to a back-up generator. It also had eftpos.

A nearby BP was unable to pump petrol without electricity, and many other petrol stations in areas affected by the blackout were closed.

9. Tamaki
The Lagoon Leisure and Fitness Centre's normally busy swimming pool complex was deserted.

Tamaki MP Simon O'Connor said he'd "been keeping in touch with Vector and their team and putting out tweets and social media messages as [they come] to hand - the medical necessity numbers".

10. Mission Bay
Kelly Tarlton's aquarium curator Andrew Christie said there had been no electricity to power the tanks and enclosures since the outage but fish and other creatures would be okay. A generator delivered to the Tamaki Drive aquarium at noon would also power Kelly Tarlton's snow-filled penguin enclosure, which is kept at about zero to 1C.

Lunch by candle light at Firewood restaurant and cafe, Mission Bay. After two fires damaged Transpower's Penrose substation causing the power outage. Tens of thousands of Aucklanders could remain without power for hours to come after two fires damaged Transpower's Penrose substation early today. . 05 October 2014 New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs
Lunch by candle light at Firewood restaurant and cafe, Mission Bay. After two fires damaged Transpower's Penrose substation causing the power outage. Tens of thousands of Aucklanders could remain without power for hours to come after two fires damaged Transpower's Penrose substation early today. . 05 October 2014 New Zealand Herald photograph by Brett Phibbs

Along the normally busy Mission Bay waterfront, many shops were closed.

A spokesman for resthome owner Ryman Healthcare, David King, said two of the company's rest homes - Grace Joel and Edmund Hillary - were using battery back-up electricity and had generators on standby.

"There's no issues with the healthcare of residents," he said.

11. Glendowie
The Flaherty family were calling in favours from friends as they waited for the power to come back on at their Glendowie home.

Maria Flaherty, her husband and 15-year-old son spent last night at the Heritage Hotel, in downtown Auckland, where her sister lives in one of the apartments.

She said they had thought about waiting it out, but had decided to head into the city with her elderly parents.

The family will stay with a friend in Parnell tonight and, depending on how long the power is out, will call in on other friends


12. Sylvia Park
Sylvia Park shopping mall was closed and security guards were stationed at every entrance to turn away disappointed shoppers.

13. Greenlane
Greenlane Clinical Centre lost power and a spokeswoman said emergency generators were being operated.

"That means we're able to maintain all essential services and patient safety is unaffected at this stage."

Auckland Civil Defence have released this graphic earlier today, showing the affected areas and when they should be up and running again:

For more video and graphics click here.

Read more:
Power outages across Auckland
Power outage: Fewer crashes reported
Auckland power cut a 'freak' occurrence - Key
Power outage: Rush to install generator at Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium
Power outage: Mobile phone customers also affected