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Businesses suffer as town loses power

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 March 2010

SHOPS in Felixstowe were losing business hand over fist today after a power cut plunged town centre stores into chaos.

Most of the main shopping street appeared closed as the blackout put shops and offices back into the dark ages.

SHOPS in Felixstowe were losing business hand over fist today after a power cut plunged town centre stores into chaos.

Most of the main shopping street appeared closed as the blackout put shops and offices back into the dark ages.

Not only did they not have lights or heating, but most could not operate because they rely on electronic tills and computer systems to run.

But worst affected were cafes, restaurants and tea rooms which could not provide hot meals or drinks either.

Brian Bishop, of Bumpers restaurant in Hamilton Road, said: "We are losing money every minute. I have had to turn several people away who have been wanting a hot breakfast or drinks.

"All we can serve is apple and orange juice and cans, and I am worried about the contents of our big freezers if this goes on much longer."

At the Oaks Tea Room on the corner of Cobbold Road and Crescent Road, Julie Pither said: "We are open but all we can offer people is lemonade and salad sandwiches!

"Luckily we came in yesterday to make all our cakes so we do have some items to sell, but all our cookers are electric so we cannot do any hot food or drinks at all. Let's just hope the power comes back on quickly."

In Hamilton Road, staff at newsagents SJS News said they were only able to serve customers who had the correct money, and WH Smith faced the same problem.

Big stores had a mixed morning. Tesco was shut, but further down the street Iceland and Woolworth, which have their own generators, were open as normal.

Harvey Smith, of Porthole Photography, vice chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said many businesses were losing money but would be angry to know they would not receive compensation.

"Monday is our busiest day of the week. It takes our processing machines three hours to warm up – they are on timers but didn't come on because of the power-cut," he said.

"Even if they come on now, we will still be able to do only about 25 per cent of our work today. We also process Tuesdays work on a Monday and so it could be a very long day."

A spokeswoman for power company 24Seven said about 100 properties were affected in Hamilton Road, Cowley Road, Cobbold Road and Penfold Road.

Power had been off since 5.30am – though town centre residents said it had been off since just after 2am.

"We do not know what the cause is at the moment and our engineers are trying to find out and checking the sub-station in Cobbold Road," she said.

Businesses would not get compensation unless they were off for 18 hours – and would then only receive £100.


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