Traders’ anger over six-day power failure

Businesses on Burnley Road, Todmorden, were affected by a long-running power failure over the Easter holiday. Pictured are, from the left, Lesley Hartley, of Hartley's cafe; Adam Dipoti, of Todmorden News Centre; Premsa Royle, of Enchanting Wood; Judith Uttley, from Marshalls of Todmorden; and Trevor Harding, of Stone Hair Art, who were all affected.
Businesses on Burnley Road, Todmorden, were affected by a long-running power failure over the Easter holiday. Pictured are, from the left, Lesley Hartley, of Hartley's cafe; Adam Dipoti, of Todmorden News Centre; Premsa Royle, of Enchanting Wood; Judith Uttley, from Marshalls of Todmorden; and Trevor Harding, of Stone Hair Art, who were all affected.

BUSINESSES who lost thousands of pounds of sales during a six-day power failure have slammed the compensation offer from the electricity company as “a total insult”.

Forty shops, businesses and residents on Burnley Road, Todmorden, have been affected by the power cut, which began on Good Friday night.

Power was initially restored to a number of properties via generators the following evening, but it was a further five days before all those affected were transferred back to their normal supply.

Business owners in the area said trade was seriously affected during the Easter holidays, traditionally one of the busiest times of year.

Trevor Harding, of Stone Hair Art, said: “We lost a couple of clients because they were going on holiday and wanted to have their hair done. We might not get them back.

“We didn’t know how much hot water we had. You can’t have clients if you don’t know when it will run out.”

The businesses affected have been offered a compensation payment of £54, which Trevor said comes nowhere near to covering the lost trade.

“I’m not happy with the way we have been treated,” he said. “It was a farce.

“We have had to work later on other days to recover and then pay the staff extra.”

He said the temporary roadworks put in place created traffic chaos in the town centre.

Adam Dipoti, of Todmorden News Centre newsagents, said it had been a major inconvenience.

“We lost about £800 in sales and had to get rid of a full freezer of stuff,” he said.

Businesses said it is not the first time they have been affected and are worried about rising insurance costs.

Lesley Hartley, of Hartley’s Cafe, had to throw away her fish and chicken.

“I couldn’t risk them,” she said.

“I can’t afford to claim on my small business insurance because my premium will go up.

“It’s the fourth time it’s gone off. It’s always on a day when it’s been a busy time.”

The White Hart pub had to remain closed on April 7 until 6pm due to the electricity problems.

A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, which runs the pub, said: “The White Hart inevitably lost sales during the closed periods. However, customers were made aware of the situation, especially those with bookings.

“The events were out of our control, but the pub is now fully operational and trading again as normal.”

Northern Powergrid said a £950,000 project to replace the overhead line network and improve the reliability of the supply in Todmorden would begin shortly.

A spokesperson said: “A power cut that affected 40 customers in the Burnley Road area of Todmorden on April 6 at 9.56pm was due to a fault on an underground cable.

“Northern Powergrid engineers attended the site and were able to locate the faulty section of cable.

“We can confirm that a full and permanent repair has been carried out. Power was initially restored to a number of properties via generators on April 7 at 5.05pm.

“All customers affected were transferred back on to their normal supply on April 12 at 6pm.

“Letters were issued to customers affected at the time of the fault to inform them that they were eligible to receive a standard good will payment for the duration of time they were off supply.

“We would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused during this time.

“Customers who have any further queries regarding the incident can call us on 0800 2987769.

“We will shortly be commencing a £950,000 investment scheme to replace the overhead line network in Todmorden. Further communication will be issued to all residents impacted by this work.”