A fault in a major underground cable has been blamed for plunging parts of Rotorua, including a packed Eat Streat, into darkness for more than two hours.

The power outage happened just before 9pm on Monday, affecting around 400 customers.

Unison customer relations spokesman Danny Gough said power was restored to all customers by 11.40pm.

"One of the underground cables had a fault but at this stage we don't know what was the cause. It is quite rare for one of those cables to fault."


Unison workers dug down to the cable today to examine the fault on Lake Rd, opposite St Michael's Catholic Church.

When asked by the Rotorua Daily Post whether the fault could have been linked to the nearby Lake Rd roadworks, Mr Gough said he "did not want to speculate".

"It is too early for us to know what caused the fault - it could have been a number of things, I wouldn't single out the nearby roadworks."

Eat Streat's Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar owner Kris Beehre said his staff made good of the situation.

"It was the biggest power outage we have ever experienced. We got some big candles for each table and continued cooking but didn't seat any new customers.

"My staff handled the situation really well and as a result the customers were really good about the whole thing. There were safety concerns about cooking in the dark and customers walking to the bathroom in the dark but we took it in our stride."

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Cafe Ephesus owner Niyazi Gunaydin said his restaurant closed and staff went back in when the power was restored to close up.

"We couldn't do anything, couldn't continue cooking or taking orders so we closed and then when the power came back on we went back in to cash up and close properly."

But it was not just Eat Streat eateries affected by the outage.

Princes Gate Hotel owner Brett Marvelly said the outage fried the motherboard of the computer used to check in guests.

"It was a real pain, we ended up having to get a professional in to fix it. We got it up and running again around 3am."

Ohinemutu resident Mericia Waqanimaravu said her family made the most of the bad situation.

"It was actually quite nice going without technology for a while. We went outside and had a look at the stars which seemed so much brighter without the city lights."