Town plunged into darkness

PUBLISHED: 14:40 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 06:56 30 May 2010

Landlords Ian Rae and Wendy McCarthy in their candle-lit pub Picture: MICHAEL BOYTON

Landlords Ian Rae and Wendy McCarthy in their candle-lit pub Picture: MICHAEL BOYTON

A SERIES of power cuts have caused havoc for businesses and homes across Dunmow. Power cuts hit businesses causing hundreds of pounds in lost revenue on Saturday and Tuesday. High Street businesses affected included H Stokes Butchers, Papillon gift shop,

A SERIES of power cuts have caused havoc for businesses and homes across Dunmow.

Power cuts hit businesses causing hundreds of pounds in lost revenue on Saturday and Tuesday.

High Street businesses affected included H Stokes Butchers, Papillon gift shop, and the Post Office, and the blackouts reached as far as the Kicking Dickey pub on the outskirts of town in Ongar Road.

On Saturday the two-hour black out, which also affected many homes, struck at 5.30pm just before punters sat down to enjoy FA cup football at the Kicking Dickey.

Michael Reynolds who works at Perkins Garage was one of the men looking to enjoy the match.

He said: "The power was off until just after eight, it seems to me that it is becoming a regular occurrence, we ended up having a beer by candle light, it is a pain in the backside."

Kicking Dickey landlord Ian Ray said the pub regularly suffers from blackouts and he thinks it is a result of ageing power lines.

He said: "The lights and power go off all the time. On Saturday we lost more than £100 in freezer food and lost revenue; most of my customers did stay, but only because they knew the power would be off at home."

On Tuesday power was lost several times on the High Street and customers had to queue for half an hour in freezing temperatures as Post Office staff struggled to open an electric door.

H Stokes Butchers' owner, Nick Hards, said he lost about £200 in takings. "Every time the power goes off we cannot open our fridges because of the risk of the meat going off," he said. "And when our scales don't work it makes it impossible to serve customers," he said.

Homeowner Mrs Reynolds from Luckins Drive, described how the cuts constantly affect her housework.

She said: "The cut on Saturday came just as the washing machine and dishwasher were in mid-cycle.

"I had to empty the washing machine and all of the electronics in the house had to be reset.

"We rang EDF who supply our electric but they have an infuriating automated service and we were unable to speak to anyone."

EDF communications manager for the South East, James Barber, said the interruption to customers' power was caused by a fault in an underground electric cable.

He said: "Our engineers restored supplies to nearly 200 customers within five minutes and restored supplies by re-routing power in stages throughout the evening until all customers had power again at 8.12pm.

"Unfortunately, on Tuesday about 1800 customers lost power at 10.30am due to a related fault.

"Nearly 900 customers had power restored just after midday with all the remaining customers having supplies again by 2pm."

He apologised to customers in the Dunmow area for the inconvenience caused by these problems.

He added: "Our engineers are currently repairing the affected cables so customers have a reliable supply once again.

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