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Business fury over blackouts

PUBLISHED: 09:48 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 August 2010

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(C) by RICOH R8 User

POWER cuts have cost traders thousands of pounds after they were forced to close their shops for the FOURTH time in two months. Stores in Gravesend High Street shut for most of the day after being hit by a power blackout which lasted from 9.30am to 2pm l

POWER cuts have cost traders thousands of pounds after they were forced to close their shops for the FOURTH time in two months.

Stores in Gravesend High Street shut for most of the day after being hit by a power blackout which lasted from 9.30am to 2pm last Friday.

In an earlier incident last December several shops in the town centre were forced to stop trading when a series of powercuts struck three times in a week.

In the latest incident shops Birthdays, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Game, Rosebys, the Early Learning Centre, Bakers Oven and Card Factory were among those affected. Birthdays lost an estimated £600 in sales based on Valentine's Day sales last year after the outage forced them to close their doors.

Manager Linda Halford said: "It's very annoying, we were having a good week in the build up to Valentine's Day and it's all gone out the window now."

Staff at the Early Learning Centre were forced to close their store until 2.15pm, ovens at Bakers Oven were without power and the lights in Roseby's were out. Scores of shoppers were also affected as the closure of several town centre banks left them unable to withdraw cash.

Jean White, 80 from Meopham, said: "It's the first time I've been able to get in because of the snow, I made a special trip. We only have a bit of cash left and it could run out soon."

JM Danslow Butchers, on Windmill Street, were forced to throw away more than £400 worth of spoiled meat during the December incident as its fridges and freezers lost power. M and M Property Services, also of Windmill Street, had to send staff home.

Nigel Miller, director of M and M Property Services, said: "Once the power is down our hands are tied. There's nothing we can do. Computers, telephones, credit card machines, none of it works.

"We have still got to pay wages and rates but if we have no power we have no income. Commercially it's just crippling a business."

And EDF spokesman said the outage was due to a fault on an underground cable. They said: "We appreciate how difficult it is to lose power, especially at this time of year. We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident.

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