Power cut hits town centre shops

A NUMBER of shops in Colchester town centre were plunged into darkness yesterday lunchtime when their electricity supply failed.

Roddy Ashworth

A NUMBER of shops in Colchester town centre were plunged into darkness yesterday lunchtime when their electricity supply failed.

Power was cut to about 1,600 customers in the west and north areas of the town at around 12.20pm.

This meant that many town centre retailers had to close their shops as they were unable to conduct transactions with no electricity.


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Derek Ashbee, centre manager at the Culver Square Shopping centre, said: “About half of the shops here were forced to shut.

“Because of the way the grid works it wasn't big blocks of shops, but individual ones.

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“We have got no idea what the problem was because when you phone the helpline it is not very helpful.

“All we were told was that there was a team working on it.”

Shopper Sharon Middleton, from Churnwood Road, Colchester, said: “I had just been to the toddlers' music session at the library.

“I came out at about 11.45am, went to Superdrug and then on to TK Maxx and when I came out of there I noticed lots of the shops were in darkness.

“Among those I saw shut were both Waterstones, the Natiuonwide, Paper Chase, Ernest Young the jewellers and Barclays Bank.

“Then I had some trouble getting out of the car park at the back of Williams and Griffin - when I got to the exit barrier they had to open it manually.

“It was all a bit annoying, really.”

EDF Energy Networks engineers restored power to 860 customers at 12.47pm, 191 at 12.52pm, 141 at 1.53pm and the final customers were reconnected at 2.46pm.

Mr Ashbee said: “It was out for around two and a half hours here, which is frustrating.

“It's tough enough trying to do business at the moment anyway, but with no power its impossible.”

Speaking after power was restored, a spokeswoman for EDF Energy said: “We are currently investigating the cause of this incident.

“We do appreciate how difficult it is to be without power and would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

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