INDEPENDENT businesses have spoken of their frustration after a succession of power cuts left them thousands of pounds out of pocket.
The shops and offices, along West Street, in Fareham, say they have lost stock and trade from four power outages in as many weeks.
One firm has been forced to bring in its own generators just to guarantee a stable power supply.
One of the worst hit was Jojo Gelato, an ice-cream parlour that opened in January.
Manager Jojo Cheung said: ‘Since the power cuts have been happening, I estimate we’ve lost around £3,000.
‘Not only have we got ice cream which was unusable as it melted, we have lost out on business.
‘The power cuts were happening during peak times and we were having to turn people away.’
Stuart Mundy, owner of SDM Coffee House and Design Studio, said the power cuts have impacted on his coffee shop trade as well as the design studio work.
He said: ‘It is extremely annoying, particularly when we are trying to host children’s parties in the cafe and the power goes out.’
There have been four power cuts that each lasted several hours – two happened during weekdays, one on a Saturday and the latest one on Sunday evening.
Mr Mundy said: ‘In the studio, we need our computers to do our job, as well as to serve in the coffee house. It is not ideal as we have had to close several times.’
Accountants from Helpbox said they had to bring in their own generators to provide a stable electricity supply.
Andrew Wheeler, a Helpbox chartered accountant, said: ‘Losing our electricity supply could have had a devastating effect not only on our business but also our clients who rely upon us to deliver essential tax services.’
Other places hit by the cuts, which were caused by explosions in the power network underground, include TaxSense Accountants, Lydia-Rose Boutique and Praills Opticians.
Power supplier SSE estimated around 50 homes and businesses were affected and it said more power outages were to come as engineers tackle the problem.
Neil Anderson, network communication manager, said that a planned power outage would take place from 9.30am until 3pm on Tuesday, March 10 but that it would only affect 11 residential properties in Riches Mews, off West Street.
Mr Anderson said: ‘We have identified a lengthy section of cable that needs replacing. We would like to apologise for the disruption and thank everyone for their patience.’