Advice for food, insurance and keeping clean in Auckland power cuts

Thousands are still without power in Auckland following Tuesday's destructive winds.

Lines company Vector is estimating it could be days before some customers are reconnected, meaning many will be contemplating how they can keep going without any power.

Civil Defence says while much of the city may be returning to normal it's not business as normal for those still without electricity.

"Those without power have now had 36 hours without heating, hot water and other essential services, and will be dealing with food spoilage issues," said Auckland Emergency Management director John Dragicevich

"We can't emphasise enough how important it is for people to look out for each other and check on neighbours, friends and family that might not be coping under these circumstances."


It can be hard to know what foods are okay in a power cut but you shouldn't rely on your nose and eyes.

After two hours an unopened fridge will no longer keep your food cool and once it hits over 5degC it's the perfect temperature for nasty bugs to breed inside.

Items in the freezer have a slightly better chance - a half full freezer will keep for up to 24 hours and a full one for up to 48 hours.

What's most important is to keep the fridge and freezer doors shut. Every time it's opened, the inside gets a little warmer and food gets closer to spoiling.

Once the power is back on, Civil Defence Northland advises to throw out any red meat, chicken, fish, casseroles, stews, soups, pizza or sausage rolls that have been above 5degC for over two hours.

If those items were kept below 5degC in the freezer and still have ice crystals they can be refrozen or used immediately.


If you've had to chuck out half the fridge your contents insurance may be able to cover the cost of buying replacement groceries.

"We do provide cover for a one-off event in which food is spoiled as a result of the power supply being accidentally disconnected under our contents insurance policy," an AA Insurance spokesperson told Newshub.

"We recommend people take a photo of the food to make it easier at claim time."

AAI says customers shouldn't rush to inspect damage to make a claim before it's safe to do so and to keep any damaged items or take photos so you can make the replacement process easier.

The most important thing is to make sure you're in a place that is safe and watertight. If you can't stay in your house, call your insurer and they should help find temporary accommodation.

Keeping clean

No power means no hot showers, which can't be fun with temperatures in the single digits.

Thankfully for Auckland residents affected by power outages the YMCA has opened their doors and is offering their hot water.

"This is the least we can do to help support our communities," said YMCA group manager of recreation Graham Hill.

"It's been a big event for Auckland, and there are indications that power outages may continue for a few days.

Those wanting a hot shower can head to the YMCA in Auckland CBD, Northcote, Ellerslie, Panmure, Mt Albert or Lynfield. They are all open from 6am to 9pm on Weekdays and 8am to 9pm on weekends.