BUSINESSES in Solihull town centre were yesterday counting the cost of a power cut which led to several retailers and offices closing for the day and losing takings.
Several retailers along the High Street experienced a loss of power on Thursday morning rendering computers, tills and equipment useless. Some businesses - including the Solihull News - lost power intermittently but all eventually lost the vital spark as the day wore on.
None of the businesses had been informed of the problem which was due to a fault in an underground cable affecting just a section of the busy shopping area.
Kerry Hobbis from Sporting Barbers was gamely trying to keep the shop open for business. The 29-year-old manager said: “We will try and remain open and we can do basic cuts with scissors. But we really need the clippers. If it goes off again then we can’t really work”.
Indulging in a spot of spring cleaning was Lorraine Bunford, an administrator at Melvyn Danes estate agent. She said:”We found out when we arrived this morning. We have had to get our phones diverted to a personal mobile and we haven’t been able to do computer work but we have kept busy. We had a power surge of about five seconds at about 12pm and then it went off again. Now it’s a case of catching up.”
The Cafe Rouge restaurant looked forlorn in the afternoon sunshine with its gailey checked tables standing empty.
A sign on the door proclaimed that the restaurant chain closed.
Nearby there were no tills ringing at Laura Ashley which was in darkness and closed. Health food shop Revital also remained shut to the confusion of shoppers.
Just around the corner in Manor Walk, the nail files were dangling unused at Scratch Nails as manager Sandy Gandham and nail technician Chelsea Walsh desperately contacted customers to cancel appointments.
“It’s awful. We need to move everything over to the next two days and this is supposed to be a late night as well. We will have to close and lose a whole day of business. We should definitely have had some warning that there might be potential problems,” said Sandy.
A spokeswoman from Central Networks said: “There are 11 customers affected which include the Solihull News. The power went off at 7.48 this morning and it is due to an underground fault which we are working to repair.
Our priority is to get everyone back up and running and there is a team of engineers working on the site at present.”