"It's been a disastrous day," says Tim Robinson, co-owner of Bernina Northland Sewing Centre and vice-president of the Northland Chamber of Commerce.
Like many with a retail business, Robinson is counting the cost of the two-hour power cut that left 92,000 properties in the North without electricity.
It's considered the most significant outage in the region for a decade, shutting petrol stations and shops.
Not since a forklift carrying a shipping container hit a major power line in 2009 has there been an outage to have hit the North so severely.
In this case, there's nothing so obvious as a forklift to identify the reason for the outage. Late yesterday, Transpower was still in the dark over the electricity outage.
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Robinson closed his central Whangārei shop for a few hours when the power went out about 9.30am.
In the hours that followed, Northpower and Top Energy raced to reassure customers even as Transpower - which is responsible for the power lines along which electricity flows - chased down the fault.
Amid the chaos and inconvenience, there were those who found genuine distress over the power cut.
Jeni de Jong, who has a genetic heart condition, needs electricity to help transmit emergency messages to Whangārei Hospital if her heart begins to fail.
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When Northpower posted an update about power returning to its Facebook, she replied saying: "My heart machine needed loading... hope it's back on asap".
De Jong told the Advocate the power cut sparked concern over the critical life-maintaining link to medical care.
The machine in her body acts as a monitor and defibrillator. If it picks up abnormal function, it is able to deliver a shock to the heart and send results to a monitor in her home. The results guide the machine to offer advice on whether to call an ambulance, doctor or go to the hospital.
Her call-out on social media to Northpower led to a response she said was stunning and appreciated.
The electricity company promptly messaged her privately, giving her specific timings on power being restored and urging her to go to the hospital if necessary.
"I was blown away. That was really nice of them - it was a beautiful message."
Transpower spokesman Geoff Wishart said the outage came during maintenance on one of the two circuits through which power passed on its way north.
With one circuit down for maintenance, the other circuit "tripped", cutting power.
Wishart said the fault - whatever it was - happened somewhere between Huapai, in northwest Auckland, and Marsden Point.
"We will continue to do work on what might have caused it. We do not like having unknown trippings on our network.
"Again we are very sorry for the outage. While they do not happen very often, they are certainly annoying for those affected when they do."
Back in central Whangārei, Robinson was preparing to welcome back the half-dozen people who yesterday turned up for, then were turned away from, Day One of a training package.
They'll make it work, he says, but it was another of those situations where Northland's tenuous link to the rest of the country was keenly felt.
He likens it to State Highway 1 and the impact of a major storm - if the road is blocked, then the North risks isolation.
Likewise with power cuts, he says. "Security of supply is absolutely critical. Your core infrastructure just has to work."
Robinson said he would have expected a backup plan to have been in place when work was carried out on one of the two available circuits. Reducing the North's link to electricity to a single line created an unwelcome vulnerability, he said.
Yes, he agreed, it had been years since the last big power cut. And, he said, it's certainly not as exposed to outages as his rural home.
But, as he says, "infrastructure is critical to keeping the region moving".
The Ngawha geothermal power station could create options, he said. At least, some form of fallback option needed to be explored.
It was a view echoed by Dover Samuels, a former Māori Affairs Minister now living in Kerikeri. He said the outage was a ''wake-up call'' to central and local government.
While Top Energy's geothermal power plant expansion would go some way to making the region self-sufficient in power, it was clear Northland could not rely on power coming from the south.
''We need a completely independent power supply for all of Northland,'' he said.
Top Energy's new geothermal power station at Ngawha isn't yet up and running but even if it was, it wouldn't have kept the power on in Northland.
Chief executive Russell Shaw said any time the national grid failed, Ngāwhā power station had to be shut down to prevent a power surge that would damage people's property.
That was because geothermal power stations — unlike gas- or diesel-powered plants — produced a constant output that couldn't be varied in response to sudden changes in demand.
Top Energy was currently installing an array of diesel generators around the Far North which could be used when the national grid was down. The combined output of more than 56MW would be close to the Far North's peak energy consumption of 70MW.
Once complete, by the end of March next year, they could keep the power on for 12,000 customers during planned and unplanned outages in the Far North.