Major power outage hits over 85,000 and causes mayhem in New Zealand
Auckland’s power cut is costing retailers at one of the city’s largest shopping malls more than $1 million a day in sales.
The Sylvia Park mall at Mt Wellington, south of the central city, was shut yesterday and again today due to the power outage that at one stage left as many as 85,000 households across the city without electricity.
Chris Gudgeon, chief executive of the mall’s owner Kiwi Income Property Trust, said the Sylvia Park Pak ‘n Save was trading today but all the other stores were closed. Power was expected to be back on this evening.
Gudgeon said Sylvia Park’s retailers did a combined $460m in sales a year with about 12 million shopper visits to the mall annually.
“Obviously every trading day is different but that’s an average of $1.3m per day,” he said.
“It’s busier on weekends and in the school holidays, which we are in at the moment.
“Retail is recreation and it’s part of our leisure activity. It’s also good fun in the school holidays to come and partake in the activities at the mall.”
Prime Minister John Key Prime Minister John Key said a full inquiry would take place into a “freak fire” which cut power to 85,000 households in Auckland.
All the major banks have branches and money machines closed by the Auckland power cut.
ANZ’s Sylvia Park, Eastridge and Remuera branches were shut today, while 11 ATM’s were also closed.
ASB said Eastridge, Lunn Ave, Meadowbank, Remuera, St Heliers and Sylvia Park branches were closed until further notice, with four ATM’s also unavailable.
Westpac’s St Johns, Sylvia Park and St Heliers branches are closed today, with ATM’s at Sylvia Park and Countdown Mt Wellington and St Johns unavailable.
Kiwibank’s St Heliers, Eastridge, Meadowbank, Sylvia Park, Panmure and Glen Innes branches were closed, while a spokesman said Remuera would be open by midday today.
A further seven ATM’s were also out of action in those areas.
A spokeswoman for payment network Paymark said there had been no noticeable fall in card transaction volumes on a nationwide basis yesterday, but Auckland-specific numbers were still being analysed.
Gudgeon said the lost sales revenue at Sylvia park was an issue for tenants to deal with and most would have business interruption insurance. Power wasn’t the mall’s responsibility.
“We can’t guarantee the power supply,” he said.
Gudgeon said the mall had systems to last a couple of hours in the event of a brief power outage but not one lasting a couple of days.
“Having had these issues in the past, we, like most other Aucklanders thought this had been addressed and we had a first-world power supply, security of supply and redundancy,” he said.
“I can understand a short outage but with a prolonged outage you would really should be directing your questions to Vector or Transpower.”
Some retailers are also reported to have had to dump frozen stock that had spoiled.