Auckland storm: How to cope without power

With power company Vector saying it could be days before power is restored to some areas, here are some handy tips for coping without it.

Gillies Ave in Epsom, cut off after a major storm overnight brought down trees and cut power in the area. Photo: RNZ / Matthew Hutching

Instead of breaking down the couch for firewood and conceding that bugs might be an efficient source of protein after all, there are ways to continue living in relative comfort. Here are some top tips for surviving the blackout of 2018.

Turn everything off: With the power gone, make sure to turn off all your light switches and anything else you might have left on. It could be restored while you‘re out or asleep. Furthermore, power can surge when it‘s restored which could cause damage to sensitive items like televisions, stereos, and computers.

Don‘t use candles: It‘s not 1870. Instead, stock up on batteries and use battery operated torches and lamps. Candles are a fire hazard. Modern phones have flashlight apps which come in handy if you need to move around the house in the dark.

Take advantage of power at work/school: Charge your phone or tablet when you can so that you can use it when you‘re at home. If you use a car to charge devices, don‘t leave it running in a garage – it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Use technology to your advantage: You‘re electric or induction stovetop will obviously be redundant and unless you‘re an avid camper or doomsday prepper, you probably don‘t have a portable gas cooker. For Aucklanders, you can use your freshly charged phone to order some food on Uber Eats.

Be careful outside: Outages are frequently caused by damaged and downed power lines. If you see any, try stay at least ten metres away from them. If you‘re driving and traffic lights aren‘t working, drive slowly and apply the give-way rule.

Take out cash: Shops in your area might also be affected, take out some cash so you can make small purchases when you need to.

Keep the fridge closed: Leave your fridge and freezer closed and sealed, it will keep the cold temperature longer. A freezer will keep temperature for about 48 hours if left unopened, while a fridge will keep food cold for around 4 hours.

Never run a generator inside: If you‘re going to use a generator for power, do not run it inside the house or garage – it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Layer up: The storm has brought with it the first cold weather of the year. Be sure to keep warm by putting on extra layers.

Take advantage of friends and family: If living in the dark gets too much, or you just really need a hot shower, call on friends and family in non-affected areas.