Power cuts in Auckland costing city millions, says Paymark

auckland sky tower

Devastating power cuts in New Zealand’s biggest city have closed all major banks and ATMs and may have reduced spending by as much as NZ $4.3m, according to the electronic payment processor Paymark.

Sylvia Park Mall, which turns over around NZ $1.3m a day on average, is also closed and many factories, cafés and dairies are reportedly calling for compensation – partly with the backing of senior government figures.

However, Tim Grafton, chief executive of the country’s Insurance Council, has warned that the outages may not yet have been long enough for businesses to claim against. ‘‘With business insurance some of those policies may have an excess period where the first 24 hours or 48 hours may have to be picked up by the insured,’’ he said.

Power shortages are also threatening vital healthcare services and causing transport chaos.

The blackout hit yesterday following a fire at a substation that knocked out electricity to parts of the city and suburbs. Eighteen-thousand homes and businesses in Auckland are still without power.