WORKMEN have repaired an underground electricity cable in the centre of Bishop’s Stortford this evening (Thursday, July 4) which they believe is responsible for a series of power cuts which have plagued businesses in the past fortnight.
A total of 17 customers in the North Street, Bridge Street and Water Lane area, including Coopers of Stortford and the Herts & Essex Observer, were hit by an outage soon after 9.30am this morning which lasted for about an hour and a half.
Then at 1pm the power went down again and was still off when most businesses shut for the day.
Soon after 6pm a spokesman for electricity supplier UK Power Networks said: “We have found the fault. We are looking to repair it this evening.
“We’re looking at an estimated restoration time of around 8.30pm. That will fix the problem permanently.”
Workmen pinpointed the fault in a cable beneath the pavement outside Charrington House, the former East Herts District Council offices, in Old River Lane. One of them reported seeing smoke coming from beneath bricks bordering the grass verge.
But at 7.12, earlier than expected, the Lemon Tree restaurant in Water Lane, which had been hit three times in the space of 24 hours, tweeted: “Back up and running. So stressful as no gas or electrics for hours. Problem ongoing with phone line though. Could be 24 hours till repaired.”
Earlier it said on Twitter: “So frustrating. We have a full restaurant tonight and a big wedding tomorrow.”
The businesses were affected in different ways as a result of having more than one phase, or supply line, into their buildings. For example, at the Observer, the phones and some lights were fine while the sockets were out, which meant that reporters were unable to use their computers.
This afternoon’s failure forced the closure of the William Hill betting shop in Bridge Street, where punters could watch races on the screens but could not bet on them because the tills were not functioning. The shop had to shut because its lights were not working.
Next door, gift shop Consortia was without its till and card machine, but on the other side of the bookie’s the Isabel Hospice charity shop shut was unaffected.
At the Star Inn, the lights and fruit machines were on, but it could not serve beer or food, while, conversely, in the Black Lion on the other side of Bridge Street, it had no lights but was able to pull pints.
Portrait photographer Rebecca Callaghan, whose studio is above the Isabel Hospice shop, was forced to reschedule at least two shoots, while electricals shop Rickmores across the road was in darkness all afternoon.
At Coopers of Stortford, the back of the store was without lights and the call centre for its mail order business was affected. In the same building, the Eden Hair Group salon was without power on its first floor.
The same 17 customers were also without electricity for more than an hour last Thursday morning (June 27). Nine customers were affected the day before (Wed June 26).
Has your business been affected by the power cuts? To what extent has it been disrupted? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.