December 11 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Thousands of people are entering a third day without power as engineers continue to repair the damage caused by Monday’s storm.
UK Power Networks said last night the number of customers without power in Suffolk was down to 12,000.
In Essex this figure was 11,000, meaning both counties had around 17,500 properties reconnected over the course of the day.
No estimates are available from UK Power Networks as to when individual communities cut off from the network will have power restored, saying only that their target is to have all repairs completed as soon as possible.
Many businesses have been hit hard by the power outage with some losing a day or more’s trading.
In Aldeburgh, the blackout continued to affect high street shops and services until 3pm yesterday – in what has been labelled a ‘key week’ of half-term trading.
Restaurants were forced to turn customers away and a rush on essential provisions has reportedly left items like batteries in short supply.
The Brudenell and White Lion hotels, both operated by Suffolk-based TA Hotel Collection, lost power on Monday morning. A handful of guests were put up at nearby Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club.
Meanwhile, without use of computers, pharmacist manager Barry Shooter and his staff had to handwrite urgent prescriptions and deliver them to the housebound.
Mr Shooter said: “We started yesterday without power. Our system is based on computer and we need light to dispense accurately. Our pharmacist is wearing a head torch and her assistants are working with hand torches.
Naomi Tarry, chairman of Aldeburgh Business Association, said: “Half-term is a key week for businesses before the leaner months of the winter season.
“We understand that there are a lot of customers to deal with but it is a real struggle for businesses in Aldeburgh.”
Mrs Tarry, whose own Best of Suffolk team have been forced out of their normal Badingham base and into temporary offices at Framlingham Technology Centre, said all 200 of the firm’s holiday cottages were currently booked and had been affected by the cuts.
At least two other local firms have also been offered refuge at the centre, where business development manager Jenny Stockman is still offering space for companies struggling in the wake of the storm.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is a very busy time for many, many firms leading up to Christmas and we hope that energy companies are working as hard as possible to get as many people as possible back on line.”
Meanwhile local representatives for Age UK said the continuing power outages would place a strain on elderly and vulnerable people.
“These are difficult and worrying times for older householders without power,” said Helen Taylor, information manager from Age UK Suffolk.
“Support from friends and neighbours makes a tremendous difference at times like these. I know from the calls we have received today that there are many friends and neighbours who are already supporting older and vulnerable people who are still without power in their homes around Suffolk, perhaps by taking around hot drinks and snacks, supplying extra blankets or hot water bottles or just keeping in touch.
“However, as power failures continue I feel increasingly concerned for disabled and older householders who may be facing a third day without power. We have a network of staff and volunteers around Suffolk and I would urge anyone who is concerned about an older person to contact Age UK Suffolk on 01473 359911 and we will try and assist if we can.”