Outrage as St Albans Indian restaurant left in the dark during London Road power cuts

Chilli Bar and Kitchen was badly affected by the power cuts on London Road

Chilli Bar and Kitchen was badly affected by the power cuts on London Road - Credit: Archant

A restaurateur has hit out after a series of power cuts caused a substantial loss to his business over the festive period.

Chilli Bar and Kitchen on London Road, St Albans, missed out on two evenings of business and a loss of stock after two cable faults along the road resulted in numerous power cuts.

Different groups of people and businesses on London Road have been affected on dates including December 12, 17, 24, 27, with the latest in a series of incidents occurring on Tuesday (29).

The power cut was caused by a burst water main which got into a faulty cable, interrupting power to 21 properties from 2.45pm to 11.45pm.

Abdul Kashim, owner of Chilli Bar and Kitchen, said that the first power cut to affect them was on December 24 and lasted for four hours.

He added: “We had a packed restaurant, as you can imagine, with large groups being the busiest time of the year for us. [It was] total chaos as the kitchen was unable to complete orders [and] front of house unable to print out bills.

“Lots of disappointed customers who left the restaurant were very unhappy that night.”

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The restaurant was then affected again on Boxing Day, where a loss of power to their fridges and freezers meant they had to discard all of their stock.

Kashim continued: “I called UK Power Networks and was told that we should have power back on by 7pm, [but the] power was not restored until midnight.

“With over 80 booked in for evening service we did not know whether to cancel bookings or take the word of UK Power Networks.”

The power returned intermittently throughout the day but there was no continual source of power.

Kashim said: “By 7pm with still no power and with no further info from UK Power we had to turn customers away and shut down, meaning total loss of business.

“This is extremely bad for our reputation; we are not entitled to any compensation as we did not go without power continuously for more then 12 hours. I feel that they could not care less about small independents like us.”

The first cable fault was traced to Alma Road but has now been repaired and the second has been temporarily repaired with plans for a permanent fix in due course.

Tracey Elsey, spokesperson for UK Power Networks which is responsible for carrying out the repairs, said: “We would like to apologise for intermittent power problems in London Road, St Albans, over the past fortnight.

“These were caused by two separate underground cable faults which initially proved difficult to pinpoint, as the heat generated resealed the cables so the network appeared normal.

“At times we have had to turn supplies off to carry out investigative work and sometimes customers reported flickering supplies rather than a power cut.”