Looking after employees, family and each other order of day as waiting game continues.

Warm hotels

Parnell hotels were full up with families and people suffering with health issues, said hotel staff in the area.

At the Auckland Rose Park Hotel, several people on kidney dialysis machines checked in to hook themselves up to the power supply, a staff member said.

Quest Parnell was inundated with inquiries but had to turn people away due to previous bookings, said a spokeswoman.

Watch: Aucklanders wake to no power

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Tens of thousands of Aucklanders could remain without power for up to two days after two fires damaged Transpower's Penrose substation early today.

"People wanted to have somewhere warm to stay.

"They couldn't cook, some couldn't even open the doors to the garage to get their cars out."

A Quest Carlaw Park Apartments spokeswoman said most people checking in had been good-natured about the power cuts, with those taking a room doing so because they could afford it.

"They understood that it was just what happens sometimes.

"Most of them just really wanted to have a shower and be warm."

Plants on hold

Work at four of Fletcher Building's main manufacturing plants in Auckland was on hold yesterday.

The company, New Zealand's biggest listed firm, said it was frustrated at the lack of information and certainty around the restoration of reliable power to its plants which had been in peak production.

A spokesman said work ceased at the company's Pink Batts, Winstone Wallboards and Fletcher Aluminium windows plants in Penrose and at its AHI Roofing factory in St Johns. Its Placemakers store in Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington was also closed.

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Group general manager, investor relations and capital markets Philip King said the plants employed about 1000 workers. Yesterday's first shift was told to stay home, as were

Watch: Key: Inquiry needed after power cuts

Prime Minister John Key says an inquiry is needed into whether there was sufficient back-up in place after the power cuts in Auckland yesterday - but has warned that if that inquiry finds better backup systems are required it will contribute to higher power prices. Mr Key said there would need to be an inquiry into what went wrong and the response to that. "We know there was a fire, the question is was there enough redundancy built in there." He said if that inquiry found greater contingency systems were needed, it would have a cost. Vector was a controlled monopoly and its charging and costs were set by the Commerce Commission.

non-essential staff at the company's Penrose head office. The company used generators to provide power for a skeleton team.

Mr King said Fletcher Building needed certainty about reliable power as further cuts could be costly.

"Safety is the main priority in a restart and there's always unintended consequences if the power goes off," he said.

Workers who were told to stay at home yesterday would be paid. The company had business interruption insurance but this did not kick in until the cost exceeded $10 million, Mr King said.

"We hope we will be manufacturing today but we don't know if that will be the case because Vector say they are sharing the load and you don't know when they will pull power to support somewhere else."

Although Mr King said the shutdown would cost the company, at this stage it did not expect that the power outage would have a material impact on its results for the 2015 financial year.

The company had sufficient stocks of most of its products but aluminium windows were manufactured to order.

"I think we have an ongoing and high degree of frustration," Mr King said. "This is a very major outage and [we have] huge plants and operations and it's put the whole business on hold in the region and it's not good."

On, then off

Power supply remained patchy in Glen Innes, with some shops in the main shopping area with power, but many still without.

Gary Holmes, of the local business association, said electricity was restored to the area at about 9.30 on Sunday night, but had gone off again in many shops at 9.30am yesterday.

Barber Hossein Mohajeri waited in his shop for the power to come back on.

"We are ready for things like this short term, but not long term," he said.

He felt the people of Glen Innes weren't being looked after.

Around the corner, Kebab shop owner Mustafa Wasta had just thrown out about $400 worth of meat, and cancelled his chicken order. He said he would normally have made about $1000 on a Sunday, and on Monday prepped for the week.

"I don't know what happens. I don't know when the power will come."

Many people wondered if there would be compensation for the losses, and Mr Holmes said a lot of the shop owners would not have insurance to cover the situation.

Waiting in shop

Cobbler Karl Thorley at the Meadowbank Shopping Centre still had no power at the shop or in his home nearby yesterday.

He said he'd had a hot shower in the morning with water left in the tank, and a barbecue for breakfast.

"It's a bit like camping, really. As long as you don't get too stressed about it."

Mr Thorley was surprised there wasn't a switch that could be flicked to re-route the area's supply from a different substation and he was surprised such a major blackout could happen after the CBD powercuts in 1998.

He said he'd stay in the shop all day in the hope the power would come back on soon.

Many of the neighbouring shops in the centre remained closed.

Stores open

All New World and Pak'n Save stores were open and operational yesterday, Foodstuffs said. Back-up generators were keeping the stores running at full capacity.

Stores also increased their stocks of hot food, such as hot chickens and fresh bakery goods, so affected customers in suburbs without power could get hot food without having to cook.

The stores would continue to provide the extra hot food until power was back to normal across the city, spokeswoman Antoinette Shallue said.

Lucky campers

For Louise and Paul Hendrickx of St Johns, the power outage has had little impact.

The couple, 52 and 54, had taken their campervan to Matarangi in the Coromandel on Friday night.

Upon returning home on Sunday evening to find their house - and suburb - without power they were able to just continue on camping, albeit in their own driveway.

"The house is too cold," Mrs Hendrickx said yesterday. "We're lucky. We've got hot water, showers, toilet, everything, a cooker, oven. We're self-sufficient in that sense.

"And plenty of wine and beer. That's the main thing."

A small generator was also helping keep their fridge running in the house, she said, which meant when power came back on their lives would be relatively unchanged.

"We like to get away and do a lot of camping. It's times like this you think it's paid off."

Trade knocked

A small group of waterfront shops in Roberta Rd, Glendowie, were all but empty yesterday.

The owner of cafe and homemade icecream parlour Spencer's was preparing soup from scratch over a gas cooker.

The woman, who didn't want to be named, said two days without business would have a huge impact.

"I've worked seven days a week for four years. It just knocks your trade.

"I've just taken a large icecream order for a hotel this morning. What am I going to do? I don't know if I'm going to be able to make it."

'Inconvenient'

At St Andrews retirement village, chief executive Andrew Joyce said the power cut was "inconvenient, but not a disaster".

The complex had more than 350 residents in either fulltime care or independent living.

Mr Joyce said three generators that belonged to the village were keeping heating, lighting and other essential services going and on-site electricians were re-routing electricity as it was needed.

Though residents living independently were completely without power, the village had put on an impromptu barbecue for lunch and door-knocked residents to check they were alright.

He said some people had chosen to stay with family until the power supply returned.

Man on mission

Those without generators were still powerless in stormy Mission Bay yesterday afternoon.

Icecream parlour Movenpick was closed, but staff inside the shop watched as a man loaded a pallet of icecream into a refrigerated truck.

Ready this time

Fish Pot Cafe co-owners Derek and Peter Drummond were prepared for the outage this time round, with three generators keeping the 27-year-old eatery open for business.

Derek said his brother Peter owned the generators and had lost little time setting them up on Sunday.

"We were determined after the last power cut that we'd conquer the next one."

He said the restaurant had made it through about five big power cuts over the years.

People were enjoying eating fresh fish and chips by candlelight, he said, and the only thing that wasn't working was the Xpelair system - so they had opened the window and were using the sea breeze to waft the cooking smells away.

'Refugees'

Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer and his family, including 4-month-old William, spent their second night in a Parnell hotel yesterday.

The family of four, who usually live in Meadowbank, had been without power since Sunday morning.

"Given we've got a not even 4-month-old baby, we needed to consider bottles and baths not to mention a warm house," said Mr Brewer.

"We've also got a 9-year-old on school holidays, and so moving into a hotel for 48 hours has been a bit of an adventure."

The dining room at his hotel was full of "Remuera refugees", he said.

"For those that have young babies or are elderly, many have just had to get out. Although many would not have been able to afford to."

He said the blackout would be costing families hundreds of dollars on hotel stays, restaurants and takeaway meals, as well as perishable foods that would be thrown out.

"I know plenty of people will be looking at their insurance policies and also wondering if Vector are going to stump up more than the talked-about $50."

He said he was confident he would be home today.

Singalong

Folk at Real Living Resthomes in Epsom and Remuera enjoyed the power cuts with a singalong by lantern light, a manager said.

General manager Martin Oettli said the power cuts had brought a sense of comradeship with people gathering together in the community centre for tea, biscuits and songs.

"We had a couple of singalongs in our central lounge and we could provide the tea, coffee and someone to talk to.

"I think the old piano got a workout."

Both of Real Living's rest homes had no power on Sunday, Mr Oettli said, with generators brought in privately to cope with the shortage.

Power was back on in the Epsom rest home, but Remuera would have to wait until today, he said.

"It's amazing that in this day and age we can get brought to our knees [like this]."

Heritage Remuera resthome did not have such a good time, a staff member said.

The barbecue was in use heating up food and residents struggled with the cold, using extra blankets and hot water bottles to keep warm while heaters were out of action.

"Without power - no good," a staff member said.