St Albans businesses hit by wave of power cuts

PUBS and restaurants are counting the cost after being plagued by power cuts in premises close to where work is being carried out on the new Alban City School.

Gels Picciuto, who owns Kashu in Hatfield Road, St Albans, estimates that more than a month of power cuts has cost his restaurant at least �40,000 in loss of business and damage to equipment.

The Blacksmith’s Arms, Darcys, The Peacock and the Museum of St Albans have also been affected and the Pemberton Building Almshouses have found themselves plunged into darkness.

Adam Dugdale, assistant manager of The Blacksmith’s Arms, said the pub had suffered around 15 power cuts lasting for up to 20 minutes and at least three large ones.

On Tuesday night the power went off at 11pm which meant the tills did not work but it came at the end of the evening.

Darcys Restaurant over the road still had customers when they lost power on Tuesday night but managed to struggle on although some people had to eat by candlelight.

The Museum of St Albans suffered a long power cut on Tuesday - which is believed to have resulted in the adjoining pub The Peacock being forced to close for the day - and also experienced the same outage on Tuesday night. A spokesperson said there had been an intermittent problem for around a month which had affected the smooth running of the museum which had been forced to introduce some temporary closures.

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Kashu boss Gels estimates that since the beginning of May he has suffered around 19 power outages and had been forced to turn customers away on occasions. At a recent wedding reception for 80 guests, the restaurant had been unable to draw any soft drinks or lager because of an outage

He said that the Marlborough Almshouses lost power on the same occasions as Kashu and it had residents in their nineties.

Gels had to remain at Kashu until the power was restored at 3am yesterday morning (wed) because he could not leave the restaurant insecure.

He described the constant outages, which he admitted had everyone on tenterhooks waiting for the next one, as a “catalogue of errors, an absolute debacle.”

A spokesperson for UK Power Networks said they would like to sincerely apologise to six businesses in part of Hatfield Road which have experienced power cuts in the past month.

She went on: “We carried out extensive investigations to locate the problem, and in the meantime re-arranged the network to minimise the number of customers affected.

“In the latest incident last night, two customers lost supply for about four hours from 11pm. Our engineers located the fault yesterday and replaced a section of underground cable during the early hours of today. They completed the repair at 5.20am and we believe this has resolved the problem. We will continue to closely monitor the network in this area.”