May 23 2013 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Thursday, February 21, 2013
BUSINESSES in Felixstowe town centre have suffered five power cuts in less than a week – but will not be compensated for loss of trade.
UK Power Networks apologised to customers for the loss of electricity supplies and confirmed that compensation would not be paid.
A spokeswoman said: “The interruptions, which all lasted between one and two hours, were due to a fault on a low voltage underground cable which has now been located and permanently repaired and we are hopeful this will resolve the issue.
“We appreciate how difficult it can be to be without power.
“Our industry regulator, Ofgem, sets Guaranteed Standards for electricity distribution companies and if we fail to meet these standards, customers are entitled to receive a payment.
“Such payments are not compensation and do not take into account individual inconvenience or losses. However, they are intended to show goodwill in a speedy, fair and consistent way.
“We encourage businesses which rely on power to have insurance cover because no matter how well we maintain the network, incidents can happen for a variety of reasons.
“We will be happy to provide written evidence of the power problems to help their insurance claim.”
If it takes more than 18 hours to restore power, customers can claim £54 for a residential customer or £108 for business customers.
Customers who experience repeated interruptions, four or more power cuts in a year, each of more than three hours, can also claim a £54 payment.
Traders today spoke about how the blackouts had been affecting them, with some shops having had to close for a while and one forced to throw away stock from fridges after the loss of electricity.
Shops in Hamilton Road affected by the power cuts included Tesco, The Triangle Café, Fruit and Flowers, Arcadian, Simone’s hair salon, the Post Office, Palace Cinema and Bingo, and Ladbroke’s bookmakers.
The first of the blackouts struck on February 7 from around 7.30am to about 9am, and was then repeated on February 10 from 8.30am to 10am and again from 9.30pm until after midnight. There were two more on February 12 from 10.30am to 11.25am and again from 11.30am to 1.30pm.
Zeynep Kayhan, manager of The Triangle café, said: “The power cuts have been at the worst time of day – just as were are setting up and opening or during the busy time. We have had to turn customers away because we cannot use lights, equipment or the till and cannot serve food or hot drinks.
“I have had to throw food away from my fridges.
“These power cuts have affected a lot of businesses and we have all been losing trade.
“We are told we are not entitled to compensation and to claim on our business insurance, but that will only put our premiums up next time, so we lose both ways. We are already putting all our money into our businesses to keep them going.”
Paul Branch, who owns Fruit and Flowers, said: “It was very difficult setting up because with no lights it was pitch black, and we couldn’t use our till.
“It was difficult but we did our best to keep going. We have been told there will be no compensation.”