Town centre street plunged into darkness as power cable is cut

JPCT 16-11-12 S12460347X  Horsham, East Stereet. mayfair hair. Kay Tyler. Power cot for traders -photo by steve cobb
JPCT 16-11-12 S12460347X Horsham, East Stereet. mayfair hair. Kay Tyler. Power cot for traders -photo by steve cobb

A power cut plunged Horsham restaurants into darkness and left businesses without power for most of last Friday afternoon (November 16).

More than 30 customers were affected, including East Street’s Strada, Cote Brasserie, Mayfair Hair, and Steamer Trading Cookshop.

Some kitchens were left with warming freezers and no extractor fans, after an underground 1,000 volt cable was damaged at 1.50pm during on-site work by Murphy Ltd on behalf of UK Power Networks.

While most units returned to full power at 5.34pm, Wagamama’s extractor fans were left severely damaged until 11pm, leaving their kitchen redundant.

Alex Jervis, senior front of house manager, said they had lost typical Friday takings of £3,500 to £4,500.

Mr Jervis, who has since reported a good weekend following the problem, arrived early Monday morning to phone all inconvenienced customers to offer them vouchers.

“It’s a goodwill gesture,” he said.

Mayfair Hair employees also tried to refer put-out customers to later dates, with the hairdressers taking one client next door for a blow dry.

Kay Tyler, manager of Mayfair Hair, said: “I am really fed up with the situation. I have had to phone everyone round.”

UK Power Networks apologised to customers, and described how engineers isolated power supplies to other customers in order to make the equipment safe to carry out the repairs.

A spokesperson said: “We understand how difficult it is being without electricity, both for the businesses and residents who have been affected, particularly on a Friday night in this area.”

Murphy Ltd contractors were working on the small site in East Street, and had been busy replacing a cable running from the nearby substation for more than a day when the cable was damaged.

Bob Woodhart, area support manager for Murphy Ltd, extended apologies on behalf of the company.

He said: “We are extremely sorry. It’s not much help but what else can you do?”

Other businesses were more fortunate. Cote Brasserie, which had resorted purely to candle light in the afternoon, had fully functioning kitchens from 7pm.

Ben McCarthy, general manager for Cote, who was expecting a wedding party of 25 people that night, said: “It could be temporarily detrimental to the business.”