This is the Scottish Power engineer working his socks off to make sure an unscheduled and badly timed electricity cut in Chester city centre does not ruin tonight’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Hero of the hour is Steve Lewis, of the direct action response team, who has helped restore 70% of affected businesses in Bridge Street, many of which were forced to close for several hours on one of their busiest trading days.

Steve, who had been in attendance from about 1.30pm today (Thursday, November 20) after being notified of the fault, told The Chronicle about 5pm he could not give a cast iron guarantee the Christmas lights would not be affected by the power outage.

He said: “I can’t guarantee it. Until we have stabilised the network there is a remote possibility of a loss of supply.”

Mr Lewis, who was supported by a member of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Street Scene team, suspects there is an underground fault outside the Steamer Trading Cookshop which will require the pavement to be dug up to resolve the issue.

He added: “We managed to restore 65-70% of customers within two hours. There are currently a few remaining customers off supply.”

The fault affected City News in Bridge Street between about 11.30am and 1pm. All power was lost but the business owner decided to continue trading. Scotts clothing store was also left without electricity. A sign in the window read: “Sorry, but we are closed due to a technical malfunction.”

A sign in the window of Scotts of Chester

Relaunched pub Commonhall St Social, formerly The Weighing Room, was without power between 12pm and 4.45pm.

Disgruntled assistant manager James Duxbury said: “Today was meant to be quite a good day for us as well!”

The Christmas lights are due to be turned on from 6.30pm onwards in stages as the parade winds its way through the city.