WATERGATE Street businesses were plunged into darkness for hours at a time over a busy Christmas shopping weekend.
A total of 15 businesses on the row and the street lost power for about three hours at a time on Friday, December 3, Saturday, December 4, and Monday, December 6 – costing them thousands of pounds.
Business owners were fuming after an engineer came to fix the problem on Friday, only for it to reoccur on Saturday and Monday.
ScottishPower told residents a fuse had blown in an electricity station in nearby in Refuge House. Businesses say last year they lost power due to the same problem.
John Murphy, of Moor Hall Antiques, said: “We spend the whole year gearing up for Christmas time and this happens.
“We need this business to help us get through January and February.
“It means our tills don’t work, and credit card machine. I kept the shop open and used candles to light it, but people don’t come in if the shop is dark.
“This has happened before and it should be fixed.”
Jo Roberts, of Smile Hairdressing, said: “We had clients in here with wet hair and foils in, and no power. We had to turn clients away and cancel bookings.
“Luckily, we are all good friends here. It is like a community and my friend Dimitri, who has a salon round the corner, said we could use his salon.
“Also, my friend at the Rainforest shop next door, who still had electricity, brought a cable round to us so we still had power for the phone.”
Nicola Duerden, owner of Watergate Deli, said the power cuts ruined her lunchtime trade.
She said: “We stayed open and lit some candles, but we were unable to serve any hot drinks or food.”
Albert and Margaret Rusling, of The Cartoon Gallery, said customers were very understanding.
Albert said: “The Christmas period is the worst time for this to happen.”
Margaret added: “I was taking each customer round the gallery with a torch. One lady even held the torch while I wrapped up the picture she had ordered.”
A ScottishPower spokesman said: “The problem is likely to be associated with the cold weather.
“Our engineers upgraded fuses at the Refuge House substation and Cheshire Observer substation. The existing 315 amp fuses were replaced with 400 amp fuses.
“We have had engineers on stand-by in Chester city centre to quickly respond should another outage occur. We trust that the situation has been resolved, but we will continue to monitor it.”