Smarter Power > Resilience

Unplanned outages

Our network is one of the most reliable in New Zealand, but the lights still go out from time to time.

Watch our video to find out more about what causes unplanned outages and how we restore power.

What to do during an outage

Visit this page and follow the prompts for further instructions. You might need to phone your electricity retailer, but there are some quick checks you can do first.

⚠️ Follow your emergency response plan if you're medically dependent, and contact your health practitioner if an outage puts you at risk of harm.

Make sure you unplug household appliances
Some could be hazardous if they turn back on unexpectedly – for example, irons, ovens, and heaters – especially if you decide to go elsewhere. Others could be susceptible to damage from a power surge, so consider using surge protectors for any expensive or sensitive equipment. You can leave a light on in the room you’re in so that you know straight away when the power's back on.


Phone our emergency line on 0800 248 148 if you spot anything you think might be an electrical hazard.
Call 111 if anyone's in danger or if there’s a fire or serious risk to property.

Putting together a power outage kit can make being without electricity a little easier to manage.

This might be part of a more general ‘grab bag’ and should include things like:

  • a charged mobile phone and power bank device
  • a torch (separate, otherwise it will drain your phone’s battery)
  • a portable radio (to listen out for updates if cell towers are down)
  • some spare batteries (for your torch and radio)
  • warm clothes and blankets/bedding
  • water and non-perishable food.

During a prolonged outage, make sure you eat any perishable foods first. Without power, food will generally keep refrigerated for 2-4 hours and will stay frozen for up to 24 hours, as long as you keep the fridge and freezer door shut. If anything doesn’t smell right, throw it away.

If you’re medically dependent, make sure you have an emergency response plan in place and let your electricity retailer know. If a power outage occurs, contact your health practitioner for help or call 111 in an emergency.
Make sure you also have a backup plan for any pets relying on power, like tropical fish. MPI provides a checklist for protecting pets in emergencies.

If you’re running a business

We recommend having a business continuity plan.

All organisations are different, but some of the things you might want to consider are:

  • being able to process EFTPOS transactions manually
  • business interruption insurance
  • an alternative location, commonly known as a disaster recovery site
  • getting a uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system and/or generator (more info on this here).

Visit (external site) for more.

Safety first

If you're without power:

  • Check on your neighbours if you can – particularly if they’re elderly or otherwise vulnerable.

  • Don’t use candles due to the risk of fire.

  • Never use a generator indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.

  • You can continue to use any gas-powered appliances as long as you do so safely.
    Never use barbeques or portable cookers/camping stoves inside.

  • If you’re out and about, be aware that traffic signals might not be working.

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