Marchers call for resignations over power cuts

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The Independent Online
AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Auckland residents today marched in protest at the prolonged power cuts in the centre of New Zealand's biggest city as the municipal supplier said further cuts were possible.

About 100 protestors marched down the main thoroughfare, calling for the resignation of the Mercury Energy board. "I want to see people with skills in strategic management, people with a clear vision for its (Mercury's) future." said march organiser Hilary Ord.

Protesters called for full compensation for lost business and wages since the unprecedented failure of all four main power cables to the central business district on 20 February. Extra generators, two restored cables and an energy conservation campaign have restored near normal conditions downtown.

But Mercury has said it cannot guarantee continuous supply until a temporary overhead power link is installed into the city, which could take another four weeks. Mercury spokesman Matthew Bolland said the company faced a tricky task in juggling the still limited available supplies to meet demand. "The question for next week is how many people will come back. If more come back and the weather stays at this heat, we are likely to need even greater savings." he said.

"The reality is that if we get more people back and we can't increase the savings then we are likely to have cuts."