Repeat power failures are costing us money, say Southsea traders

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Traders say they have lost business after power cuts repeatedly hit their street.

A bridal store, a hairdressers and a chocolate retailer are some of the shops in Marmion Road, Southsea, that say they have been forced to turn away customers due to power failures.

The power has failed five times in the past year - twice in one day last week in the run-up to Christmas.

Southern Electric say there is a fault in a cable and it is working to solve the problem.

But traders cannot claim compensation for the power loss - as rules say it must be continuously out for 18 hours.

Sue Newland, 53, owner of Coco Chocolatiers, said: 'I am so furious that I actually want to cry.

'The week before Christmas is a massive trading day for us.

'We had to turn customers away, we wasted produce that couldn't be stored and could only serve customers paying with cash.

'I lost about 1,000 that day and it has left me very angry. Christmas and Easter are traditionally our busiest days.'

Andrew Pearce, 44, owner of The Dressing Room, added: 'We have got a major problem with Southern Electric. The electricity went off on Tuesday last week and was the fifth time it has happened this year.

'This time the fuse had blown at 10.45am and it took them two hours to come and fix it.

'Then 10 minutes later the fuse went again but they said an engineer wouldn't be available to come out for a few hours. Every time the fuse has gone like this we have lost a day's trade.

'As it was Christmas we had a lot of customers in who want to get pampered beforehand, so we lost money.'

The traders have been further angered as they say they cannot claim compensation from Southern Electric for loss of trade.

Mr Pearce added: 'The power needs to be out for 18 consecutive hours before anyone can claim compensation.

'But this means if the power is out for 17 hours and then on again for two minutes before going back out, then the whole timeframe has been reset.'

Southern Electric said an engineer has been working to find the fault.

Spokesman Sam O'Connor said: 'There were two faults that occurred that day which meant we sent engineers around to investigate the network.

'We would like to apologise to everyone affected, sometimes the fuse can trip and then it will be all right for a while.

'But because on this occasion the fuse went out twice we sent an engineer to see where the fault is.

'With regards to compensation, we ask the traders to write to us and see if anything can be done.

'The 18 hour rule is not set by ourselves, but our regulatory body Ofgem.'