Town businesses hit by power cuts

Cllr Carla Lockhart with Simon Dowey of Dowey's Butchers who were one of the High Street businesses left in the dark by a power cut. INLM4111-124gc
Cllr Carla Lockhart with Simon Dowey of Dowey's Butchers who were one of the High Street businesses left in the dark by a power cut. INLM4111-124gc
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TWO power cuts in the town centre last week left several businesses counting the cost.

Traders in High Street were left without electricity for two hours on Monday morning and on Wednesday morning shortly before 9am the power cut out again and remained off for most of the day.

Concern was raised by townsfolk who felt the pavement in High Street vibrate and noisy fizzing and banging under foot.

At least two businesses were unable to trade on Wednesday. Both Houston’s and Pink Fit never got out of the blocks as their electric shutters were locked in the down position.

When the power eventually came back on in Houston’s building there was a secondary problem when all the VISA machines blew. Since then staff have had to manually process card payments.

Houston’s also faced a set back on Monday morning when they had limited lighting upstairs, but were left in darkness downstairs. Because of health and safety regulations they couldn’t let customers into the store.

At Dowey’s, thousands of pounds worth of meat had to be rescued after the thaw set in. Because the display cabinets at the front of the butcher’s shop were losing their cool, the meat had to be stored in two large freezers at the back.

Dowey’s coffee shop was unaffected by the power cut and extension cables were utilised to keep both businesses up and running.

Also counting the cost was the Windsor Bakery. Trade was down due to the fact they were unable to provide customers with sliced bread because the slicing machine was rendered powerless.

All in all, despite the power being off for little over eight hours in total between Monday and Wednesday, the businesses the ‘MAIL’ spoke with told of significant financial losses.

The cut also affected the Lurgan Mail print deadline and as a consequence several items stored on the local hard drives could not be placed in the paper as planned.

One of the few businesses to benefit from the power cut was Rumpoles cafe which became a rendezvous point for business owners as they waited anxiously to have their power restored.

The ‘MAIL’ understands engineers were in short supply and it wasn’t until 3.30pm on Wednesday that NIE technicians were able to excavate close to Clear Pharmacy in High Street and get to the root of the problem.

Some speculated that work on new street lights was to blame for the power cut, but NIE have said this wasn’t the case.